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Connecticut Voters Don't Need Photo IDs

October 25, 2011

HAMDEN, Conn. - Voting fraud by individuals posing as someone else in order to cast a ballot is almost non-existent, and yet 14 state governments have passed laws in the past year that they say will protect the integrity of the process by requiring proof of citizenship or photo IDs for voting. Connecticut is not one of them.

Opponents of the more restrictive laws charge that they are aimed at disenfranchising voters who tend to be older, poorer, and members of ethnic minorities.

Cheryl Dunson, president of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut, says that, heading into elections next month, it's important to know a few things.

"There are all these states that are now requiring photo ID. Yes, that kind of thing has been introduced in Connecticut, but it hasn't passed, so people that are going to the polls need to know that Connecticut still has a variety of IDs that we find acceptable."

She says voters can prove their names and addresses by bringing a utilities bill with them to the polls, or provide their name and signature, or name and photo, which is preferred but not required.

Dunson says there are ways to make voting easier without risking fraud.

"Connecticut is looking at removing the restrictions on the use of absentee ballots, letting people use absentee ballots for whatever reason they want, and they call that 'no-excuse absentee.'"

She notes that precautions would need to be taken to minimize coercion or fraud in the use of absentee ballots.

Municipal elections will be held November 8.

The 14-state statistic is from New York University's Brennan Center for Justice at www.brennancenter.org

Melinda Tuhus, Public News Service - CT