AARP Wyoming Fights Voter ID, Ballot Collection Bills
By Natalie Missakian, February 17, 2023 06:10 PM
En español | We notched another win in our fight for accessible voting — this time in Wyoming, where we helped defeat proposed changes that would have made it tougher for people to cast ballots in upcoming elections.
A series of bills introduced in the legislature last month called for stricter voter ID requirements and would have made it a crime, in some cases, for groups to collect absentee ballots from voters. None will be enacted into law, thanks to lobbying from AARP Wyoming and others.
“Older adults in Wyoming vote in higher numbers than any age group in the state,” said Thomas Lacock, AARP Wyoming’s communications and advocacy director. “It is a group that prizes the right to vote, and for that reason we work hard to knock down barriers to voting.”
One bill, which would have required voters to show an unexpired photo ID to cast a ballot, was killed in the House after AARP raised concerns that it would disenfranchise some older voters. An estimated 20 percent of voters 65 and older no longer carry a valid photo ID, according to Lacock.
“We didn’t think giving up a driver’s license should mean giving up your right to vote,” he said. In 2021, lawmakers agreed to accept Medicare and Medicaid cards as voter ID, thanks to AARP’s advocacy.
Our state office worked with the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police to fight another measure that would have required voters to mail copies of their photo ID with their absentee ballot application. Legislative leadership dropped the bill after we warned about the potential for identity theft.
We also joined a coalition of the state’s county clerks to block a bill that would have criminalized some forms of ballot collection by outside groups, which would have restricted how mail ballots could be returned.
AARP has been fighting around the country for laws to make voting easier. Last year, we helped pass constitutional amendments and ballot initiatives to expand voting options in Connecticut, Michigan and Nevada. And we backed new laws that make it easier to cast ballots in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Learn more about our state advocacy work and read our guide to voting in Wyoming.
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