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April 24, 2015

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Liberal activists suspicious, conservatives applaud Miller’s voter ID proposal


Karoun Demirjian

Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, speaks about voting machines that drew complaints from voters. Miller held a news conference in the Clark County Elections Office in North Las Vegas to address concerns about election problems.

Since taking office, Secretary of State Ross Miller has declared Nevada’s electoral system to be safe enough from fraud that a voter identification system shouldn’t be a priority.

On Tuesday, he took a step back from that line, proposing a hybrid photo ID system to help protect the integrity of future elections.

“I don’t believe voter fraud is happening on a widespread basis, but elections are about perception,” Miller said in an interview Tuesday. “You have to do everything you can to put enough safeguards in the system so that people feel confident in the integrity of the process.”

Miller’s proposal, which he will introduce during the next legislative session, includes linking Nevada’s voter lists with photos from the Department of Motor Vehicles so the voter's picture would be displayed for poll workers before a ballot is cast. Voters who don’t have a driver's license would have their picture taken and entered into the system the first time they vote in person.

Miller modeled his plan on a similar system proposed in Minnesota. That system, however, failed to pass the Legislature.

Miller, a Democrat, has consistently opposed creating a new voter identification card, but has voiced support for requiring an ID to be presented before voting.

Still, his new proposal earned him reprobation from liberal activists, who have long believed that voter identification laws in other states have succeeded in disenfranchising voters.

“Does (Ross Miller) want to be the face of voter suppression in Nevada?” liberal activist Laura Martin tweeted after news of Miller’s proposal broke. “It’s a lot of (money) to spend on a problem that no one can prove exists. You yourself have said voter fraud is hard to find.”

But Miller said his plan will bolster the integrity of the election process without disenfranchising voters. His plan does not require a voter to have a specific identification — such as a driver’s license. Other voter identification laws have been criticized as making it too difficult for some people — including the elderly and disabled — to vote.

“Clearly this is going to take some educational outreach to educate the public on how this will function,” Miller said of his liberal critics. “Any time you make a proposal to amend the election system, people are going to be very tense and very suspect.

“I think people within the progressive community will want to be assured this won’t disenfranchise voters and this is a justifiable expense.”

Miller had no immediate cost estimates for the system.

Perhaps paradoxically, at least one of Miller’s conservative foes praised the proposal.

Assemblyman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks, who sponsored voter identification legislation last year, said Miller’s idea sounds good on its face.

“Obviously I haven’t read the details, but bottom line, I don’t care where the photo ID comes from as long as it is a valid photo,” Hansen said. “It solves the problem.”

“Of course, coming from Ross I’m somewhat suspicious,” Hansen added.

“But I applaud him. I love it when Democrats become conservative Republicans at least temporarily.”

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  1. Wouldn't it be much wiser to spend that money to construct a laser defense shield to protect us from the evil fairies from The fifth moon behind Pluto.

  2. I can support the photo ID as described by Ross Miller, as a means to guarantee people voting.

    There is one thing I would add. We should also have State approved notary public's who are able to photograph and verify signatures in the home.

    This is needed for disabled people who are not able to go outside the home for a photo ID, and who vote by mail.

    This doesn't prevent other forms of identification being needed, such as a birth certificate, or bills, etc.

    Putting this process in place now would assuage the fears of the Republicans and prevent actions that appear to be voter suppression by waiting to the last months before an election.

    Personally, I would go further and begin a process of implementing a citizen ID on a national basis, one that would begin with registering at birth and would include a footprint or finger prints and a photo ID as required on a passport for everyone depending on age.

    It could also be used for recording a driver's license, voter ID, citizenship whether native or naturalized, and any other form of ID needed on separate pages in a small booklet.

    It could also be a legal validation of marriages, divorces, birth of children, name changes by way of stamps & signatures of offices of registry.

    There could also be a record of any felony convictions, including a stamp and signature when one has been approved to vote again, if ever.

    Official updated photos could be changed out by offices of registry.

    This would apply to all citizen's and require the necessary actions to start the process. Maybe then we could end this problem of proving one is who they are and have can verify they have the legal status of entitlement to the privileges of citizenship.

    Those who are legally here but not citizen's would be able to utilize the old processes for a driver's license.

    This would go a long way to supplying a variety of legal declarations needed throughout life kept in one place.

    That should stop all the monkey business of requiring people to prove who they are at the whim of any interest group and their nefarious arguments.

  3. With all the problems facing the state, why work on a nonexistent one that has only served as an excuse for disenfranchising voters in other states? Furthermore, has anyone considered the privacy concerns? Voter registration info like name, address, etc. is already public info, now we are going to include a photo every citizen too? Talk about Big Brother.

  4. I believe Ross Miller is a fair and dedicated public servant and I have seen no signs of political bias from him. If he says that it would be good to beef up our voter registration procedures to remove any perception of a problem, then I have to think he has reason to say that.