After a two-week long recess, Idaho legislators are coming back to the Statehouse to finish up the session. Unfortunately, many bad bills are still floating around. Our Voting Rights Coordinator takes a closer look into HB344, a voting restriction bill that will severely impact Idahoans’ right to vote.
By Antonio Hernandez, Voting Rights Coordinator
After a two week-long recess, the Idaho Legislature is reconvening tomorrow at noon. Unfortunately, many legislators are coming back from the break to still go after your right to vote. You might remember that before the break, we were fighting a particularly dangerous anti-voting rights bill, HB 255. Unfortunately, this bill is still around – just in a slightly new form.
Our voter outreach team called over 3,000 households and sent over 2,000 texts on this issue. With the astounding number of Idahoans who contacted their legislators in opposition to this bill, we were encouraged to see the bill sponsor take the bill back to the drawing board. The bill now has a new bill number – HB344 – and many changes have been made to the language – unfortunately, the changes are anything but good.
Let’s remember that HB 255 was intended to make it harder to vote by significantly changing voter-ID requirements and creating lower standards for expelling voters from the electorate. So, how does HB 255 accomplish this and how is HB 344 even worse? Let’s break it down.
As you can see, HB 344 adds confusion to the secure voting process that Idahoans have enjoyed for years. It adds a checklist of chores for any voters who change residence (especially those who move frequently), and may keep them in the dark with whether or not they were taken off the voter rolls. The bill, in almost joker-like fashion, lets college students vote with their IDs as long as it displays date of birth. Yet, virtually no college ID in Idaho has that information on it.
Working Idaho families may show up to the polls believing they have everything they need to vote but may be turned away after standing in line during a short voting window. When a voter is turned away from the polls for any reason, odds are they wont be able to come back to vote. It’s vital that we protect and defend the right to vote for all Idahoans. Join us in fighting back against voter suppression.