AARP Says Idaho Secretary of State Voter I.D. Ads Misleading

Oct 29, 2010, 13:46 ET from AARP Idaho

Association Reminds Voters of New Law to Bring ID & Those Without I.D. Who are Registered Can Still Vote by Signing Affidavit

BOISE, Idaho, Oct. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Bring your I.D. and VOTE"  - a simple but misleading message from the Idaho Secretary of State letting people know about the state's new voter I.D. law, hitting across the state on-air and in-print.   AARP Idaho is calling the ads careless and something that could deter some older registered voters from hitting the polls. The Association has sent emails to many of its members across the state to better clarify the new voter I.D. law.  

The ads leave out a key part of the new law: If you are registered to vote and don't have one of the acceptable forms of I.D. or simply forget it, you can still vote, you just simply have to sign a personal identification affidavit.  AARP says the ads carelessly imply that registered voters who don't have I.D. can't vote.  National surveys estimate that as many as 18 percent of Americans over age 65 do not have the requisite photo I.D., the affidavit aspect of the law was included to address the needs of older voters.

"These ads are misleading, they don't explain the new law and could have an impact on elderly voters in Idaho who don't have a valid I.D. but are registered to vote," said Jim Wordelman.  "The changes in law need to be clearly communicated to the public – these ads don't accomplish the goal and it is our hope they don't result in deterring some older voters from going to the polls."

In Idaho the 65+ age group, who are most likely to not have proper I.D., are a large voting group.  An AARP Idaho survey of the group released earlier this year found  nearly 90% say they vote; 37% are Independent (29% Republican & 17% Democrat); and 53% lean conservative (

A recent "over 50/under 50 voter" analysis conducted by AARP Idaho found the 50+ vote in the state could account for roughly two-thirds of all votes cast if mid-term election trends hold (

The New Law:

In prior years, Idaho voters have not had to show I.D. at the polls, the new law changes that and now requires people to bring photo I.D. with them to polling places (acceptable types of I.D.: Idaho driver's license, photo I.D. card, passport, federal photo I.D. card, tribal photo I.D. card, or a current student photo I.D. from an Idaho high school or postsecondary institution).  Under the new law, if someone doesn't have any of these with them at the polls, they can sign a personal-identity affidavit swearing to their identity under penalty of perjury, a felony.

AARP is Idaho's largest membership organization with 180,000 members.

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