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What are the laws surrounding having picture identification?

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Quick Answer

Laws regarding photo identification vary by state, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some states require that voters present photo identification before casting a ballot, while others allow voters to document their identity without presenting a photo.

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What are the laws surrounding having picture identification?
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Full Answer

Based on laws in effect in 2014, the National Conference of State Legislatures classifies seven states as having the strictest photo identification voter laws. In states with especially strict laws, voters without an acceptable form of photo identification are only permitted to vote a provisional ballot and then must take additional steps after the election to have their vote counted. Most states with strict laws are in the South and include Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas. Indiana and Virginia are also classified as strict enforcers.

Other states also have photo identification requirements but are considered less strict enforcers, says the NCSL. In these states, a voter without appropriate photo identification may still have his vote counted, either by signing an affidavit or by having poll workers verify his identity through other means.

Many of the states classified as least stringent about photo identification requirements are located in the northern and western United States, according to the NCSL. Among the states listed in this category are Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut and Delaware.

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