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PolitiFact.com | Tampa Bay Times
Sorting out the truth in politics

Voter ID cards were found necessary by group in '05

The statement

Says the "last non-partisan commission to improve the voting experience in America concluded that #VoterID was necessary."

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, on Twitter

The ruling

Abbott spokesman Jerry Strickland guided us to a report by a commission co-chaired by former President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, and former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker, III, a Republican. The Sept. 19, 2005, report from the 21-member Commission on Federal Election Reform, organized by American University, opens with a letter from Carter and Baker stating, in part: "We are recommending a photo ID system for voters designed to increase registration with a more affirmative and aggressive role for states in finding new voters and providing free IDs for those without driver's licenses. The formula we recommend will result in both more integrity and more access."

The report notes that voters in nearly 100 democracies use a photo ID card without fear of infringement on their rights. The commission's recommendation is that states require voters to use the REAL ID card, which at the time was expected to result in each state's government-issued IDs meeting federal standards.

"The card includes a person's full legal name, date of birth, a signature (captured as a digital image), a photograph, and the person's Social Security number," the report says. "This card should be modestly adapted for voting purposes to indicate on the front or back whether the individual is a U.S. citizen." And, the report says, states should provide such IDs to non-drivers at no charge.

At a press conference, Carter said the recommendation included "careful constraints to prevent abuse. For instance, these photo ID cards will be free. Second, there will be a wide distribution of them. State officials will be required to go around the state to issue these photo ID cards to as many people as possible, which will be a good system just for recruiting new voters."

Three of the 21 commission members dissented: Tom Daschle, the former Democratic Senate leader; Spencer Overton, a professor at the George Washington University Law School; and Raul Yzaguirre, former president of the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group.

We rate the claim True.

This ruling has been edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com.

Voter ID cards were found necessary by group in '05 03/01/13 [Last modified: Friday, March 1, 2013 8:57pm]
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