An Alabama House committee passed a bill that will require voters to show valid photo identification at polling places.
The House Constitutions and Elections Committee passed the bill 8-3 Feb. 17.
"If I have a water bill or a Movie Gallery receipt or whatever, that really doesn't say who I really am," said Rep. Gerald Allen of Cottondale. "So when you have a photo ID, and that photo ID has your address written on it as well, but more importantly, it's got your picture on there, the photo can prove who you are. That's why this thing is so important."
Allen, who proposed the bill, said the identification has to be a state photo such as a driver's license or a government issued photo.
"I think it was 2008 the Supreme Court voted 6-3 that (requiring voters to show ID is) constitutional and did not see any wrong with it," Allen said. "That's a big step. With that being done, that's why Alabama needs to update their voting law as well and to make sure that everyone can prove who they are when they walk into the polling place."
States such as Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan and South Dakota already require photo identification to vote, according to the National Conference of
State Legislatures. "I know that a number of states require a photo identification, Alabama's just not one of those states currently," said Tamara Cofield, public information specialist for the Alabama secretary of state office. "I think it's important for us to have proper identification to vote so that we have one person voting for themselves. But currently Alabama is just not one of the states that requires a photo identification."
Allen said some voices of dissent have been people who think the bill will violate the first amendment.
"Some of the issues I have heard is that some