Photo Identification for Early Voting

Mr. Ross moved that the bill be amended in section 11, by inserting, after subsection (n), the following new subsection:-

“(o) Any person who casts a ballot during early voting shall be required to present a valid photo identification. For the purposes of this section, “valid photo identification” shall mean a document that:

(1) shows the name of the individual to whom the document was issued, and the name conforms to the name of the individual’s voter registration record;

(2) shows a photograph of the individual to whom the document was issued;

(3) includes an expiration date, and the document is not expired or expired after the date of the most recent general election; and

(4) was issued by the commonwealth of Massachusetts or the government of the United States.

A person seeking to vote that does not provide sufficient valid photo identification as defined in this section may be challenged under section 85 of this chapter.”

; and further by adding at the end thereof the following:--

“SECTION XX. Section 8E of Chapter 90 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2012 Official Edition, is hereby amended at the end of the first paragraph thereof by adding the following language:— The Registry shall establish a waiver for indigent persons to obtain an identification card at no cost.

SECTION XX. Chapter 90 of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after Section 61 the following new sections:—

Section 62. (a) The Registry of Motor Vehicles shall establish a definition of “indigency” for the purposes of this chapter and uniform standards and procedures for the determination that: (1) a person is indigent and is unable to afford an identification card or (2) a person is indigent, but has the ability to pay a reduced fee for an identification card. The definition and standards, and any amendments thereto, shall be used by the registry in determining eligibility for a free identification card. In the formulation of the definition, standards and procedures, the registry shall utilize: (1) the reporting system operated by the commissioner of transitional assistance for the purpose of verifying financial eligibility of participants in state or federally funded programs; (2) the accessibility of income data available from the department of revenue; and (3) verifying material assets through the registry of motor vehicles.

(b) A person claiming indigency under subsection (a) shall execute a waiver authorizing the registrar, or the registrar’s designee, to obtain the person’s wage, tax and asset information from the department of revenue, department of transitional assistance and within the registry of motor vehicles that the registry may find useful in verifying the person’s claim of indigency. The waiver shall authorize the registrar, or the registrar’s designee, to conduct any further reassessment required by this section.

(c) It shall be the responsibility of the registrar to ensure that a person claiming to be indigent meets the definition of indigency under subsection (a). A person seeking an indigency waiver shall be interviewed by the registrar or the registrar’s designee prior to the granting of a waiver. The person conducting the interview shall explain to the person seeking the waiver: (1) the definition of indigency; (2) the process used to verify the person’s information with other state agencies; and (3) the penalties for misrepresenting financial information in applying for an indigency waiver. The registrar or the registrar’s designee conducting the interview shall prepare a written indigency intake report that shall record the results of the interview and state a recommendation on whether or not the person seeking the waiver is indigent. The person seeking the waiver and the registrar or the registrar’s designee conducting the interview shall sign the indigency intake report. In signing the report, the person seeking the waiver shall certify under the pains and penalties of perjury that the information contained therein is true and that the person has not concealed any information relevant to the person’s financial status. All statements contained in the report shall be deemed material statements. The completed report shall be presented to the registrar who may adopt or reject the recommendations in the report, either in whole or in part.”