Voter ID Chronology

9/29/2021

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Overview

Despite being one of the hottest topics in elections policy for the last several years, voter ID is not new. The first state to require voters to show some kind of identification document at the polls was South Carolina, in 1950. No photo was required—just a document bearing the voter’s name. In 1970, Hawaii joined South Carolina with a voter ID requirement. Texas (1971), Florida (1977), and Alaska (1980) rounded out the first five. In some states the request was for an ID with a photo; in others, any document, with or without a photo, was fine. In all these states, provisions existed for voters to be able to cast a regular ballot even if they did not have the requested ID.

Over time, and with little fanfare, more states began to ask voters to present an identification document. By 2000, 14 states did so. These states had Democratic and Republican majorities.

In the 2000s, voter ID as an issue began to take center stage. The Commission on Federal Election Reform (aka the Carter-Baker Commission), in 2005 made a bipartisan recommendation for voter identification at the polls. Soon thereafter, Georgia and Indiana pioneered a new, “strict” form of voter ID. Instead of requesting an ID, these states required an ID. If a voter did not have the required ID at the polling place, he or she voted on a provisional ballot, and that ballot was not to be counted unless the voter returned within the next few days to an elections office and showed the required ID. These were first implemented in 2008 (after Indiana’s law was given the go-ahead by the U.S. Supreme Court, in Crawford v. Marion County).

In 2011, 2012 and 2013, the pace of adoption accelerated. States without ID requirements continued to adopt them, and states that had less-strict requirements adopted stricter ones. Many of the stricter laws were challenged in court, with mixed results.

Today, voter ID remains an active topic in elections, with 35 states having laws requesting or requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls. Learn more about how voter ID requirements have changed over the last two decades.

For a timeline, see below. 

For a printable chronology, please contact NCSL’s elections team.

Voter ID Chronology

Voter ID Changes, 2000 to 2021

State

2000

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

2012

2014

2016

2018

2020

2021

Alabama No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo
Alaska Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo
Arizona No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Strict non-photo Strict non-photo Strict non-photo Strict non-photo Strict non-photo Strict non-photo Strict non-photo Strict non-photo Strict non-photo
Arkansas Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Strict Photo
California No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls
Colorado No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo All-mail state; non-strict,
non-photo requirement applies only to those who vote in person
All-mail state; non-strict,
non-photo requirement applies only to those who vote in person
All-mail state; non-strict,
non-photo requirement applies only to those who vote in person
All-mail state; non-strict,
non-photo requirement applies only to those who vote in person
All-mail state; non-strict,
non-photo requirement applies only to those who vote in person
Connecticut Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo
DC No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls
Delaware Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo
Florida Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo
Georgia Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo
Hawaii Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo
Idaho No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo
Illinois No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls
Indiana No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo
Iowa No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo
Kansas No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo
Kentucky Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo
Louisiana Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo
Maine No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls
Maryland No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls
Massachussets No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls
Michigan Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo
Minnesota No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls
Mississippi No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo
Missouri No ID required at polls Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo
Montana No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, photo
Nebraska No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls
Nevada No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls
New Hampshire No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo
New Jersey No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls
New Mexico No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls
New York No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls
North Carolina No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Non-strict, non-photo No ID required at polls No ID required at polls (pending court action) No ID required at polls (pending court action)
North Dakota No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Strict non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Strict non-photo Strict non-photo Strict non-photo
Ohio No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Strict non-photo Strict non-photo Strict non-photo Strict non-photo Strict non-photo Strict non-photo Strict non-photo Strict non-photo Strict non-photo
Oklahoma No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo
Oregon All-mail state; no ID requirements All-mail state; no ID requirements All-mail state; no ID requirements All-mail state; no ID requirements All-mail state; no ID requirements All-mail state; no ID requirements All-mail state; no ID requirements All-mail state; no ID requirements All-mail state; no ID requirements All-mail state; no ID requirements All-mail state; no ID requirements All-mail state; no ID requirements
Pennsylvania No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls
Rhode Island No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict photo Non-strict photo Non-strict photo Non-strict photo Non-strict photo
South Carolina Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict photo Non-strict photo
South Dakota No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo
Tennessee Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo
Texas Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo Non-strict, photo
Utah No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo
Vermont No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls
Virginia Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Strict non-photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo
Washington No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo All-mail state; non-strict,
non-photo requirement applies only to those who vote in person
All-mail state; non-strict,
non-photo requirement applies only to those who vote in person
All-mail state; non-strict,
non-photo requirement applies only to those who vote in person
All-mail state; non-strict,
non-photo requirement applies only to those who vote in person
All-mail state; non-strict,
non-photo requirement applies only to those who vote in person
All-mail state; non-strict,
non-photo requirement applies only to those who vote in person
West Virginia No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo Non-strict, non-photo
Wisconsin No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo Strict Photo
Wyoming No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls No ID required at polls Strict non-phot

 

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