Tennant said she instead hopes to enlist Republican lawmakers to support a measure from her office that aims to help counties keep their voter rolls up to date. Attempts to attract GOP co-sponsors for that proposal did not succeed during last year's session. The 2012 Voter ID legislation, meanwhile, never emerged from the initial committee to which they were referred in the House and state Senate.
At least 33 states have passed voter ID laws, according to research by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Court challenges temporarily blocked photo ID requirements in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Two other states -- Ohio and Virginia -- have bolstered their laws in recent years but each allows for non-photo IDs.
But NCSL counts Virginia among 11 states where the debate over voter ID continues, with supporters advocating for a strict photo ID requirement. While Armstead's caucus now holds 46 of the West Virginia House's 100 seats, Democrats hold the rest as well as 25 of 34 Senate seats. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is also a Democrat.
Armstead said the West Virginia GOP proposal contains language meant to ensure that legitimate voters won't be stopped from casting their ballots.
"Allegations that requiring a voter ID would disenfranchise certain groups or prevent our citizens from voting are simply unfounded," Armstead said.
Tennant said she remains willing to consider additional ID requirements. She cited technology that would provide precincts with digital copies of voters' photos.
"If you can assure me that there's no cost on the voter, that the burden is not on the voter, then I am willing to look," Tennant said. "This is different than your driver's license, or getting on a plane, or buying beer or cigarettes. This is a right. Those are privileges, and we should not put undue burdens on someone's right."
Voter ID was an issue in this year's election battle between Tennant and her Republican opponent, Brian Savilla. Tennant defeated Savilla by more than 158,000 or nearly 25 percent, the largest margin of any of the non-federal races for statewide office. A freshman delegate who challenged Tennant instead of seeking a second legislative term, Savilla was also outraised by Tennant in a low-spending contest that competed with the races for such offices as state Supreme Court, governor and U.S. Senate for voter attention.