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Daniels signs voter ID bill; ICLU plans lawsuit

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Gov. Mitch Daniels has signed a law requiring most Indiana voters to show government-issued photo identification before casting a ballot.
The law, one of the most restrictive voter ID laws in the nation, now faces a legal challenge from the Indiana Civil Liberties Union.
Daniels signed the bill before a deadline Wednesday night to sign or veto the legislation or let it become law without his signature, his office said Thursday.
The ICLU responded with a lawsuit to block the law, which is scheduled to take effect July 1. Director Fran Quigley said the group would ask a judge to put the law on hold until the challenge was resolved.
Quigley said he believed the new law would prevent some residents from voting.
"This is a fundamental constitutional right, and to put a barrier in the way is simply not called for," he said.
Supporters said the law was needed to prevent voter fraud. But Democratic legislators fought the bill, saying its requirements would unfairly affect the poor, minorities, people with disabilities and the elderly who are more likely to lack driver's licenses and may struggle to obtain a photo ID.
Sen. Victor Heinold, R-Kouts, said the legislation protects indigent voters by making free photo ID cards available at license branches. Those with religious objections to being photographed could cast provisional ballots, said Heinold, one of the law's authors.
"I realize this is one of the strictest voter ID laws in the nation, but it is one of the most liberal in giving people these opportunities," he said.
As of March, voters were asked to show identification in 19 states, but only five asked for photo identification, according the National Conference of State Legislatures. Three states have tried changing their laws since then.
Georgia's new law requiring photo IDs is pending approval by the U.S. Justice Department, and Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle has said he would veto photo ID legislation that lawmakers approved this month.
A New Mexico law taking effect in July requires identification, but not specifically with a photo.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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