The House of Delegates will vote on a contentious piece of legislation Friday; a bill that would require West Virginians to show a form of identification at their polling place. But on Thursday, the bill saw a change on the floor.
House Bill 4013, the voter ID bill, would require West Virginia voters to show a photo ID or some kind of other official documentation to prove their identity before voting at the polls. A voter without proper documentation will be allowed to vote on a provisional ballot.
Supporters of the bill say it will help avoid voter fraud and make vote counting more reliable. But those opposed say it will keep people from the polls, bringing in another step to the voting process and possibly increase wait times.
Democrats proposed three amendments Thursday, but only one of them passed. That amendment was suggested by Delegate Mike Pushkin from Kanawha County.
His amendment allows someone over the age of 70 to renew their license at the DMV with a religious family heirloom to show proof of birth.
Republican Delegate Patrick Lane of Kanawha County is the lead sponsor of the bill, and he says Pushkin’s amendment is good, because the DMV currently has a policy that allows people to bring in a family Bible as proof of birth.
“Delegate Pushkin’s concern, I think, was that Bible is a specific religious document, it identifies as specific religion, and there are obviously are provisions in our West Virginia State Constitution that prohibit recognizing a particular religion, and so his language provides a general religious document exception to that,” Lane said.
The voter ID bill will be up for a final vote in the House Friday.