John Kasich, governor of Ohio, greets supporters after announcing he will seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in Columbus, Ohio, U.S., on Tuesday, July 21, 2015. Kasich, seeking to emerge from a crowded Republican presidential field as a practical and compassionate leader from a must-win swing state, is joins 15 other Republicans who have declared their candidacies. Bloomberg AFP/Getty

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal

Despite some contentious moments at their two debates, the Republican presidential candidates—from the moderates to the archconservatives—largely align on many issues. But on the issue of voter ID, an important one to many Republicans, Ohio Gov. John Kasich splits sharply from the rest of the contenders for the GOP presidential nomination.

Kasich supports the voter identification law now in place in Ohio, which accepts some photo-less documentation at the ballot box such as a utility bill, bank statement or copy of a paycheck. 

“We haven’t had any problem with voter fraud,” Kasich administration spokesman Joe Andrews told National Journal. “And we think that the system we have is working.”

Kasich’s stance reflects the more moderate Republican brand he’s pushing in the presidential race. While other GOP contenders are tacking to the right on a host of issues, he’s aiming to carve out a niche as a centrist, electable, establishment-lane candidate.

But Kasich’s views on voter ID put him squarely at odds with every other GOP presidential contender on record about the issue, as well as some Republicans on his home turf. Ohio Republican legislators are launching another push for a voter ID bill, which would require voters to present a driver’s license, passport or military ID at the polls.

Kasich’s administration doesn’t comment on pending legislation, Andrews said.

In the past, Kasich hasn’t always stated his position on the issue clearly. In 2011, Kasich avoided directly answering a question about his stance on voter ID legislation, which the Ohio legislature has weighed multiple times. At the time, he said, "I’m always in favor of more people voting, but I also want to make sure that when we count the votes we don’t have fraud, so I think we can achieve both."

Here’s where his GOP rivals stand on the issue.

Jeb Bush

Do you support legislation requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls? Yes.

In his book Immigration Wars, Bush expressed support for voter ID laws, arguing that they’re a basic component of state sovereignty. The former Florida governor said that states should make it “simple” for residents to obtain identification forms.

If so, should voters have to present an identification document with a photo on it? Yes.

Bush in his book also said that he supports Arizona’s voter ID law, which required that voters in Arizona provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote and show government-issued photo IDs on Election Day. The Supreme Court struck down the legislation in 2013.

Ben Carson

Do you support legislation requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls? Yes.

In his book One Vote, Carson endorses the practice, saying, "I hope everyone (minorities included) across America will take responsibility for having proper identification documents, which are very easy to obtain as long as one does not wait until the last minute to acquire them." Carson also supports "fees" for the IDs.

If so, should voters have to present an identification document with a photo on it? Unclear.

Carson refers to “government-issued identification” in making his case for voter ID but does not explicitly say if a photo should be required. His campaign did not return a request for comment from National Journal.

Chris Christie

Do you support legislation requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls? Unclear.

Christie does not appear to have taken a stand directly on the issue. But he did denounce as “ridiculous” attacks from Hillary Clinton on GOP candidates’ support for state voter identification and registration laws. “She doesn't know what she's talking about,” he said. He added that expanding early voting would increase the opportunity for fraud at the polls.

If so, should voters have to present an identification document with a photo on it? Unclear.

Christie does not seem to have spoken publicly about the topic. His campaign did not respond to an inquiry from National Journal.

Ted Cruz

Do you support legislation requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls? Yes.

Cruz has long been a supporter of voter ID laws as a way to prevent voter fraud. In 2013, after the Supreme Court struck down Arizona’s voter ID law, Cruz filed an amendment to the Senate immigration bill requiring proof of citizenship to vote in elections for federal office.

If so, should voters have to present an identification document with a photo on it? Yes.

In 2007, as Texas Solicitor General, Cruz wrote an amicus brief on behalf of eight states defending the Indiana voter ID law, which mandated a photo ID to vote.

This August, when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the Texas voter ID law violated the Voting Rights Act, Cruz called the decision “profoundly disappointing.” Under the law, voters must show a valid photo ID before voting. In a statement at the time, Cruz said, "There is nothing ‘discriminatory' about a law that protects the legitimate votes of American citizens and promotes the integrity of our elections - which is precisely what Texas' common sense Voter ID Law does.”

Carly Fiorina

Fiorina does not appear to have spoken out on the issue, and her campaign did not answer an inquiry from National Journalasking about her stance.

Jim Gilmore

Do you support legislation requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls? Yes.

In 1999, as governor of Virginia, Gilmore created a pilot program that would have required voters in 10 Virginia localities to show identification before voting in the state’s legislative elections. A Virginia Supreme Court panel killed the experiment.

If so, should voters have to present an identification document with a photo on it? Yes.

Gilmore campaign spokesman Dan Kreske said the former Virginia governor supports such legislation.

Lindsey Graham

Do you support legislation requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls? Yes.

At a Senate hearing in 2011, Graham lent his support to voter ID requirements. He said, “Thirty states have some form of voter ID requirement. So I think this is the future of the country, something we should embrace at the federal level, because elections do matter.”

If so, should voters have to present an identification document with a photo on it? Yes.

At the same 2011 hearing, Graham said South Carolina’s law requiring photo identification to vote “makes eminent sense.” In 2013, he voted in favor of an amendment that would mandate a government-issued photo ID for voting in federal elections.

Mike Huckabee

Do you support legislation requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls? Yes.

On his Fox News show, Huckabee dismissed as “phony nonsense” the idea that voter identification “disenfranchises voters who are old or black.” He staked much of his position on the need to combat voter fraud, saying “a fraudulent vote is a stolen vote.”

If so, should voters have to present an identification document with a photo on it? Yes.

To prove his point, Huckabee on his television show invoked an example of President Obama using his photo ID at the polls. He said, “If the most recognizable person in the entire United States of America has to show his photo ID, why is it too much to ask that of the rest of us?”

At an Americans for Prosperity conference last year, Huckabee lamented the lack of photo identification needed to vote. “When I go to the airport, I have to get in the surrender position, people put hands all over me … but if I want to go vote I don’t need a thing,” he said in his remarks.

Bobby Jindal

Do you support legislation requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls? Yes.

Jindal has signaled he backs voter identification laws and has downplayed concerns over them. In June, he said the laws are “not an unusual or overwhelming burden,” Jindal said.

If so, should voters have to present an identification document with a photo on it? Yes.

In 2006, when he was a Louisiana congressman, Jindal voted in favor of legislation that would have required government-issued identification to vote in federal elections.

George Pataki

Pataki does not seem to have weighed in on the issue yet. His campaign did not answer a request for comment from National Journal.

Rand Paul

Do you support legislation requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls? Yes.

Paul has approached the issue with more nuance than most other Republicans, though. He seemed to break with his party in 2014, when he said the GOP’s emphasis on voter ID laws is hurting the party’s standing among African-Americans.

“Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing,” Paul told the New York Times. “I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.”

But Paul’s team later signaled that didn’t indicate his opposition to voter ID laws. A Paul spokesman said the Kentucky senator believes the specifics of voter ID laws should be up to the states to decide.

If so, should voters have to present an identification document with a photo on it? Yes.

In 2013, Paul voted “yes” on an amendment requiring government-issued photo ID at the polls. But Paul has again struck a softer tone compared with others in his party.

Last year, he told Fox News’s Sean Hannity, "To see Eric Holder you’ve got to show your driver's license to get in the building. So I don’t really object to having some rules for how we vote. I show my driver's license every time I vote in Kentucky and I don’t feel like it is a great burden.  …  But I do mean what I said, that Republicans need to be aware that there is a group of voters that I’m trying to court and that we should be trying to court who do see it as something directed towards them."

Marco Rubio

Do you support legislation requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls? Yes.

At a campaign stop with Mitt Romney in 2012, Rubio said people have to show ID for a host of activities, including boarding a plane. “What’s the big deal? What is the big deal?” he said.

If so, should voters have to present an identification document with a photo on it? Yes.

Rubio backed an amendment in 2013 that would require a government-issued photo ID to vote in federal elections.

Rick Santorum

Do you support legislation requiring voters to show some form of identification at the polls? Yes.

In 2012, Santorum told ThinkProgress that he supports voter ID laws because, as he states it, “the only reason you don’t have a voter ID is you want to continue to perpetrate fraud.”

If so, should voters have to present an identification document with a photo on it? Yes.

Santorum spokesman Matt Beynon said that Santorum supported the voter ID measures passed in Pennsylvania, which required voters to show a state-approved photo ID at the polls. A state judge struck down the law in 2014.

Meanwhile, Santorum has also voiced support for expanding the voting rights of felons. In a 2012 presidential debate, heattacked Mitt Romney for not taking that position, saying, “This is a huge deal in the African-American community, because we have very high rates of incarceration, disproportionately high rates, particularly with drug crimes, in the African-American community."

Donald Trump

Trump’s campaign told National Journal that the real estate mogul has yet to take a position on the issue. Campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said Trump’s’ stance would be posted in a position paper online on voter registration, voter ID laws and online voting, though he declined to offer a timeline beyond “way before the end of the year.”

This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.

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