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April 27, 2013 (Sacramento) – Legislation by Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) to require photo identification prior to casting a ballot was killed by Assembly Democrats today in the Assembly Committee on Elections and Redistricting.

“I am passionate about this issue because the integrity of the ballot must be safeguarded so that the voices of lawful voters are not diluted or disenfranchised due to fraud and illegal conduct; this is equally as important to the credibility of elections,” said Jones.  “The right to vote is a fundamental responsibility given to us by the founders of this country.”

But a Voting Rights Institute report titled “The Real Cost of Photo ID" concludes that “the problem of voter impersonation, which is the only type of fraud photo ID could conceivably address, is less likely to occur than a person being struck by lightning.” Moreover, the report found that in states that have enacted Voter ID requirements, the costs have been high.  In California, the report estimates the cost of implementing Voter ID requirements during the first year would range from $37.86 million to $113.58 million.

Assembly Bill 1157 would require voters to show photo identification at the polls in order to receive a ballot issued by the State of California, such as a driver’s license or identification card, or by the U.S. government, such as a passport or military ID.  The bill also requires absentee voters to identify themselves by writing the last four digits of their California driver’s license, California ID card, or social security number, on a concealed flap of the ballot return envelope.

Jones cited several recent polls that demonstrated broad support from all ethnicities and income groups for voter ID, and noted that a bi-partisan federal election reform commission reported that voters in nearly 100 democracies use a photo identification card without fear of infringement on their rights.

According to the 2005 Carter-Baker Commission, California was specifically cited as a state with extensive “deadwood” on its voter registration lists, noting that one in every three voters were on the inactive list in 2004, and that the state has clearly failed to update its lists by removing the names of voters who had died or moved away.  The Commission further noted that such inaccurate registration data lie at the root of most problems encountered in U.S. elections, and that lists containing ineligible, duplicate, fictional, or deceased voters, are ‘an invitation to fraud’.”

“Even President Obama used his identification to vote in the 2012 Presidential Election.  The Democrats in California shouldn’t be so afraid of upholding the integrity of a citizen’s vote.”

Assemblyman Brian Jones represents the 71st Assembly District, which includes the communities of eastern San Diego County, including Alpine, Borrego Springs, Casa de Oro - Mount Helix, El Cajon, Lakeside, Ramona, Rancho San Diego, Santee and Spring Valley; and southern Riverside County, including Anza, Aguanga, Idyllwild-Pine Cove, Lake Riverside and Mountain Center.


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