Electronic Poll Books and the Voter ID Wars

With the presidential election behind us, the conversation over voter ID laws has conspicuously died down. But legislative work continues, and recently Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, a Democrat, has issued a smart proposal that might reconcile the competing demands of advocates and opponents of voter ID laws. The following is from a Las Vegas Sun article by Conor Shine:

Under Senate Bill 63, which Miller plans to submit during the Legislature’s upcoming session, the state would replace the paper-based rolls used by poll workers to check in voters on Election Day. In place of those rolls would be an electronic system similar to the one already used during early voting.

“The existing system is completely antiquated,” Miller said. “It needs to be updated.”

The new voting system also would link with Department of Motorized Vehicle’s license database, allowing poll workers to visually verify the identity of the person attempting to vote.

Voters who are not registered with the DMV could sign an affidavit affirming their identity or have their photograph taken at the polling station. By allowing for visual verification, Miller’s proposal addresses the chief concern of voter ID law proponents, which is that the lack of an ID requirement might allow for voter fraud, yet it also avoids creating an onerous burden on legitimate voters. The idea is broadly similar to the “electronic poll book” proposed by Minnesota’s Task Force on Election Integrity.

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

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