On November 2, Oklahoma voters will confront a long list of state referendum items on which they may vote “yes” or “no.” Second on the list—tucked between per-student educational spending and revised term limits—is State Question 746, which proposes to amend the state’s voter identification requirements. Supporters tout the measure as a necessary and low-maintenance way to keep state elections honest. After all, we require a photo ID for any number of mundane daily transactions, like writing a check or boarding an airplane. However, a small but impassioned group of opponents argues that while seemingly harmless, in reality the voter ID requirement is the partisan enactment of a runaway legislature, and it threatens the most basic of Oklahomans’ constitutional protections.
If Oklahomans vote “yes” on State Question 746, then effective on July 1, 2011, every person appearing to vote in Oklahoma must first present (1) a state, tribal, or federal government-issued photo ID or (2) a voter identification card issued by the County Election Board. All government-issued photo IDs must have expiration dates, and must not be expired on the date of the election, except for some identity cards issued to people over 65. These requirements would apply to all in-person voting, including in-person absentee voting. Continue reading