New bill would nix prohibition against poll workers asking voters for ‘additional information’

By | 11.21.11 | 11:59 am

State Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar (Pic by Meredith Geddings, via myfloridahouse.gov)

While civil rights advocates and policy-makers around the country have spoken out against increasingly strict and targeted voting rules levied by GOP-led legislatures, state Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, last week introduced a new bill that would allow poll workers to ask voters for “additional information” when they present their mandatory photo IDs.

House Bill 4129 would repeal a “provision that prohibits clerk or inspector from asking elector to provide additional information or recite elector’s home address after presenting picture identification that matches elector’s address in supervisor of elections’ records.”

Florida is currently one of 15 states with photo ID requirements for voters. Eight states (not including Florida) have very strict ID rules in which voters must show a photo ID in order to vote.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, current Florida law requires that:

The clerk or inspector shall require each elector, upon entering the polling place, to present a current and valid picture identification as provided in s. 97.0535(3)(a). If the picture identification does not contain the signature of the voter, an additional identification that provides the voter’s signature shall be required.

Gaetz’s bill strikes out specific language in the current law that says:

When an elector presents his or her picture identification to the clerk or inspector and the elector’s address on the picture identification matches the elector’s address in the supervisor’s records, the elector may not be asked to provide additional information or to recite his or her home address.

The subject of voter ID laws, particularly the stricter laws recently passed in Kansas and Wisconsin, have incited opposition from civil rights groups — as well as congressional investigations.

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