Compromise Will Preserve Voter ID in Rhode Island -- Without Photo ID

Jun 17, 2013

Voters will still have to show identification to vote in Rhode Island -- but not a photo ID -- under a compromise ticketed for passage in the House of Representatives.

State Representative Larry Valencia (D-Richmond) had introduced a bill to repeal the voter ID law passed by the General Assembly in 2011. The move of a Democratic-controlled legislature backing an issue more widely associated with Republicans attracted national attention.

Plans now call for an amended version of Valencia's bill to be taken up in the House; the legislation is scheduled for a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday afternoon.

In an interview, Valencia says the compromise will eliminate the next step for voter ID -- implementing a requirement for voters to show photo identification at the polls in 2014.

"There seemed to be general consensus, testimony-wise, and from what people including the speaker were hearing from individual districts was that the last election had worked fairly well," Valencia said in an interview. "The compromise is just to stop voter ID where it is now before it's fully implemented to the photo stage."

Valencia says he opposes voter ID because he sees it as an additional barrier to political participation. He says he's willing to back the compromise because he understands arguments that voter ID bolsters integrity in the voting process.