NEW: Chafee Defends Voter ID Law

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


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Governor Lincoln Chafee today defended his signing of a new voter ID bill into law.

The law requires that people present a photo ID in order to vote. Chafee won rare praise from the Tea Party for signing the measure into law, while a lead progressive group, Ocean State Action, has denounced the move, saying it will lead to the disenfranchisement of voters.

“One of our most cherished rights as Americans is the right to vote,” Governor Chafee said. “Throughout our nation’s history, we have fought to ensure that no citizen be denied that right. Similarly, we have also worked to maintain confidence in our elections by enacting appropriate safeguards to prevent voter intimidation and fraud.”

Chafee added: “As the General Assembly debated legislation requiring Rhode Island voters to present valid identification at the polls, I met with a number of experts on both sides to discuss this complex issue,” Governor Chafee continued. “Notably, I spoke with representatives of our state’s minority communities, and I found their concerns about voter fraud and their support for this bill particularly compelling.”

After a “great deal” of reflection, Chafee said he decided that requiring photo IDs at polling places is a “reasonable request to ensure the accuracy and integrity of our elections.”

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