The Senate today approved legislation that would require candidates in presidential primaries to provide proof of identity and eligibility to hold office.
Sen. Ralph Shortey, author of Senate Bill 1569, said critics of similar legislation filed last year claimed the measure was an attempt to capitalize on criticism of President Barack Obama, but his proposal is a matter of common sense reform.
“Even in the absence of any controversy, this is a proposal that makes good sense,” Shortey said. “We require people to present ID to board a plane, use credit cards, purchase alcohol and tobacco and even to enter certain buildings. Requiring candidates for public office to prove their identity is not a hardship – it’s common sense.”
SB 1569 would require candidates in presidential primaries to present to the Election Board photo identification and proof that they satisfy all requirements for office.
“Given that we require Oklahoma voters to provide proof of identity when they vote, it only makes sense we ask the same of candidates when they file for office,” said Shortey, R-Oklahoma City. “As a believer in federalism, I think it is important that states have the ability to fully vet candidates and ensure they satisfy all requirements for eligibility. This is simply an effort to preserve the integrity of the election process.”
The bill states that candidates shall be required to provide proof of identity and United States citizenship to the State Election Board. A candidate shall present current state or federal government-issued photo identification or a copy thereof to provide proof of identity, and shall also present one of the following documents to provide proof of United States natural-born citizenship:
1. An original birth document issued by a state, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia, or a certified copy thereof;
2. An original birth certificate issued by the federal government, or a certified copy thereof;
3. An original United States Certificate of Birth Abroad; or
4. An original Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States.
Copies of these documents shall be made by the State Election Board and kept available for public inspection pursuant to the Oklahoma Open Records Act.