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Minority advocates concerned as primary election nears

Minority advocates concerned as primary election nears

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Minority advocates say they've got big worries about the primary elections on September 15, because of a new state law requiring voters to show identification.

Voters will have to show a picture ID, such as a passport or driver's license, or some alternative, like two pieces of mail with a name and address on them, in order to vote in the primary.

Latino community activist Michael Clara feels like it's a step backward after some of the big steps forward in voting rights during the 20th century.


"We're actually having the representatives decide who's going to vote, and that's not what our country is founded on," Clara says. "It's the other way around."

Even Salt Lake County Clerk Sherrie Swenson was opposed to the law as it was originally proposed, worrying it amounted to discrimination. But lawmakers came up with some compromise to help make access to the polls more fair.

For example, someone who doesn't have a picture ID would be able to show two different pieces of mail with their name and address on them instead. And if someone showed up to vote without any ID at all, they'd have the choice to run home and get it, or they could cast a provisional ballot, and have five business days to report back to their city recorder or county clerk with the appropriate ID.

Under the new law, acceptable IDs include:

  • A currently valid Utah driver license
  • A currently valid identification card that is issued by the state or a branch, department, or agency of the United States
  • A currently valid Utah permit to carry a concealed weapon
  • A currently valid United States passport
  • A valid tribal identification card, whether or not the card includes a photograph of the voter
  • Two documents that show the name of the voter and provide evidence that the voter resides in the voting precinct, such as a current utility bill or a legible copy thereof, dated within the 90 days before the election or a bank or other financial account statement
  • A certified birth certificate
  • A valid Social Security card
  • A check issued by the state or the federal government or a legible copy thereof
  • A paycheck from the voter's employer, or a legible copy thereof
  • A currently valid Utah hunting or fishing license
  • A currently valid United States military identification card
  • A certified naturalization documentation
  • A currently valid license issued by an authorized agency of the United States
  • A certified copy of court records showing the voter's adoption or name change
  • A Bureau of Indian Affairs card
  • A tribal treaty card
  • A valid Medicaid card, Medicare card, or Electronic Benefits Transfer Card
  • A currently valid identification card issued by a local government within the state, an employer for an employee or a college, university, technical school, or professional school
  • A current Utah vehicle registration;
  • A form of identification that does not contain a photograph, but establishes the name of the voter and provides evidence that the voter resides in the voting precinct, if at least one other form of identification listed above is also presented

The full guidelines can be found online.


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Becky Bruce


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