Voter ID bills scheduled for committee hearings

<p>(Hart Van Denburg/CPR News)</p>
<p>The Colorado Capitol.</p>

Lawmakers at the state Capitol will consider Wednesday whether people registering to vote close to Election Day should have to show a photo ID. Two bills on the policy have committee hearings scheduled. One measure would require people to show a photo ID when registering in the weeks leading up to an election. The other would put the same policy up for a statewide vote next year.

When we interviewed the new Secretary of State, Wayne Williams, earlier this year, he said this type of voter ID law was part of his agenda. Specifically he wants photo ID for Election Day registration.

After that interview aired, we heard from the head of the County Clerks Association, who said that, in most cases Coloradans already use a photo ID when they register. And under current law, you are required to show proof of residency when you vote in person. There’s a list of 14 acceptable documents, including a drivers license, a passport, a student ID, or things like a paycheck or utility bill, which show name and address.

Rep. Kim Ransom, R-Littleton, one of the bills' sponsors, says she’s concerned people may be registering under false identities: "We just don’t know what kinds of fraud may be happening." Her proposal includes a provision making it easier for indigent Coloradans to get free ID cards.

"There's no really way to track what an election judge sees in a polling location with our current software," she says. But But when clerks get together and talk about their experiences, "We try to, you know, we’re like “did you see any utility bills this year? Did you see any utility bills?” Usually it’s no. I think that last year in 2013, the city and county of Denver was the only one that saw a utility bill."