User:GregG/Early voting and voter ID

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In light of this edit made by Mr. Schlafly, I want to examine whether early voting laws were passed by liberals to avoid the strictures of voter ID legislation.

(Classification of states as strict/non-strict photo/non-photo ID is from [1].)

Strict Photo ID

In effect in 2012


HB 244 in the 2005-06 session introduced both voter ID and no-excuse absentee balloting. The Georgia House passed HB 224 along party lines: Republicans voting yes, Democrats voting no, with the following exceptions: Johnny Floyd (R-147th), Mark Hatfield (R-177th), Penny Houston (R-170th) voted No; Keith Heard (D-114th), Greg Morris (D-155th) voted Yes.

Attorneys for the state used the existence of no-excuse absentee voting (without having to present photo ID) as an argument that no eligible voters would be disenfranchised as a result of voter ID.[1]


Voters must provide an excuse to vote absentee-by-mail, which does not require photo ID. However, any voter may vote absentee-in-person, which does require presentation of a photo ID or affirming that an exemption applies.[2][3]


As implemented under the S.A.F.E. Act, Kansas's voter ID system requires absentee and early voters to produce identification.[4] Kris Kobach, the main proponent of the S.A.F.E. Act, bragged about its comprehensiveness in a Wall Street Journal editorial.[5]


Tennessee does not have no-excuse absentee voting nor early voting.[6]

Not in effect in 2012


Mississippi does not have early voting, and Mississippi requires an excuse to cast an absentee ballot.[7]


Pennsylvania requires an excuse to vote absentee.[8] Additionally, Pennsylvania's voter ID law requires absentee voters to include a copy of their voter ID, a Pennsylvania driver's license number, or the last four digits of their Social Security Number.[8]

South Carolina

Absentee-by-mail and absentee-in-person voting require an excuse.[9]


Texas requires an excuse to vote absentee.[10] During legislative debates on Texas's voter ID law, the sponsor of the law cited the availability of absentee ballots (which do not require ID) to defeat amendments that would have reduced the ID requirements for some voters.[11]


Wisconsin has no-excuse absentee voting.[12] Wisconsin's voter ID law would have required absentee voters to include a copy of valid voter ID with their application or completed ballot; however, this only needs to be done once until the voter re-registers.[13]


Of the nine states that have passed strict photo ID laws, only three of them have no-excuse absentee voting or early voting. Two of them, Kansas and Wisconsin, require ID to be presented in conjunction with absentee voting. One state, Georgia, does not have this requirement, but defenders of the voter ID law cited the ability to vote absentee without an excuse and without presenting voter ID as a reason why Georgia's voter ID law is not unconstitutional.

Thus, the claim that liberals passed early voting to circumvent strict voter ID requirements has no support in the factual record.


  1. See generally Response in Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction in Common Cause/Georgia v. Billups, available at
  5. Kobach, Kris W., "The Case for Voter ID," The Wall Street Journal, May 23, 2011
  7. at p. 13
  8. 8.0 8.1
  11. Sen. Fraser: (PDF pp. 10-11) "anyone that is a Medicare person, that is 65, then we still have the provision in law where they could be eligible to vote by mail, and we, we think that's sufficient." (in response to amendment that would allow Medicare card as voter ID); (PDF p. 14) "Also, anyone over 65, as you know, there, they still can vote by mail." (in response to amendment allowing elderly voters to use expired ID)