In an effort to deter illegal voting, Cambridge residents will be asked to show some form of identification before entering polling booths across the city today, the election commission announced last week.
Wardens and clerks in all 55 precincts will request voters selected at random intervals during election day to present some form of identification bearing their names and addresses, said Peter Sturges '70, one of four commissioners.
If a Cambridge resident appears at a poll and does not have the proper identification, he still has the right to vote. But city officials said they will note the lack of i.d. next to the voter's name on check-in lists, subjecting the ballot to possible contention at a later date. Under current election laws, any citizen can contest a ballot.
"It has been a major concern of this commission that people will vote who are not entitled to," Sturges said, adding that the city had trouble with imposter voting in the mid-1970s.
The new procedure is made possible because of a recent state law passed after the last city election. Imposter voting is punishable by a prison term of up to one year.