Paul Rosenthal's bill would boost voting rights for those in youth correctional facilities
As he worked to help register his eligible students -- at the same time as he was campaigning -- it became clear to Rosenthal that this would be a good first bill to push.
After all, he had difficulties helping the youth get the necessary documentation, he recalls, since some of them did not have their state identifications or social security information easily accessible.
Courtesy of Paul Rosenthal Representative Paul Rosenthal
And even after some successfully registered and received mail ballots, there were further problems when it came time to vote.
"It was even worse than the initial registration period," he says. "So many of them didn't have any of the IDs required.
"There were definitely some of them who could not obtain the proper documentation in time," he continues. "It was very sad to report to them that they were too late."
He says it was especially disappointing because, "For all of them, this would be their very first time they would vote."
Rosenthal hopes his bill would make the requirements clear and help increase awareness so that these kinds of scenarios can be avoided going forward.
As its written, the legislation, of which he is currently the sole sponsor, would require facility administrators to collaborate with the Secretary of State's office to compile a list of documents that are in the possession of the division -- or that individuals in custody are likely to have -- that would be acceptable for registration and casting ballots.
The bill would also require administrators and the Secretary of State to post a list of documents and forms of ID in a "prominent place on the public web sites maintained by the Department of Human Services and the secretary."
Further, the law would require the Secretary of State to provide notice to county clerks and recorders of the specific documents and forms of ID that are acceptable for these individuals.
"It would provide clarity," he says of the bill, which will first be heard at the State Affairs committee next week.
"This is not a Democrat or a Republican bill," he adds. "I'm hoping this is not going to be controversial, because it's most certainly not partisan."
Continue for the full bill.