Voter ID Bill Heads to Governor's Desk

Mar 12, 2016

Update: Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 11:01 p.m.:

Members of the Senate have also approved the conference committee version of House Bill 4013, requiring voters to show some form of identification at their polling places. The bill passed 26 to 8.

House Bill 4013 now heads to Governor Tomblin for further consideration.

Update: Saturday, March 12, 2016 at 10:23 p.m.

The House of Delegates passed House Bill 4013, the voter ID bill after it was sent to a conference committee. The bill passed in the chamber 77 to 21 with no debate.

Original Post:

A conference committee, made up of three members of the House and three members of the Senate, have agreed to amend House Bill 4013, a bill that would require voters to show some form of identification before casting a ballot. 

In the agreed to conference committee report, a voter could use any government issued card, whether it contains a photograph or not. They can also use:

  • A health insurance card
  • A utility bill
  • A bank card or bank statement

Conferees removed from the list the ability to use a credit card or pay check to verify a voters identity, however, a poll worker or any other adult who has known the voter for more than 6 months could verify their identity without signing an affidavit as required in a previous version of the bill. 

The conference bill also includes an automatic voter registration process to be housed in the Division of Motor Vehicles. The Secretary of State's Office is required to write legislative rules detailing the process, which will need the approval of the Legislature during the 2017 session.

Currently, DMV workers are required to ask a a potential voter to opt in to the registration process. This bill would require them to opt out.

"I hate to lose any of the options that we had because I think if we're going to make a voter ID law, let's make it as easy for the voter to comply as possible," Democratic Sen. Corey Palumbo said after the committee finished their work.

Palumbo had sponsored the amendment expanding the list of verifying documents in the Senate's Judiciary Committee, but some of his provisions were removed. 

"Narrowing it down at all troubles me a little bit, but honestly I thought we were going to have to give up more than we did."

Palumbo had also amended the bill to include the automatic voter registration provision,, which was kept and only slightly amended to include the rule making authority more clear. 

The conference committee's negotiated bill will still need the votes of both chambers before it can be sent to the governor.