A Mansfield, Mass., selectman pushing for photo IDs at the polls plans to sue the Attorney General’s office today, after AG Martha Coakley refused to certify his proposed ballot question claiming it amounted to an illegal voting fee.

Attorney Olivier Kozlowski said he’ll file a lawsuit with the state’s Supreme Judicial Court this morning, noting residents already have to flash an ID for “much less important tasks,” such as opening a bank account, boarding a plane, driving and buying booze.

“People are so accustomed to having to do this anyway,” Kozlowski said. “My only interest is making sure that the person who shows up to vote and claims they are that person is indeed that person. . . . I have for years been walking up to my polling location with my license in hand and kindly being told, ‘Don’t worry, you don’t have to do that.’ ”

Kozlowski wants a question on the fall 2012 ballot and is organizing a group to collect the approximately 70,000 signatures needed between now and November.

But Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office rejected the initiative because the only way a nondriving voter can obtain an official state ID is to pay a $25 fee — creating a potential hardship for some poll-goers.

“This petition simply does not meet the required legal standards,” said AG spokesman Brad Puffer. “Forcing voters to incur an expense in order to cast a vote infringes on the freedom of elections. We have applied the same standard to all petitions.”

Alejandra St. Guillen of the Latino civic education group Oiste praised the AG’s ruling.

“To pay the $25 for you or I would not be a hardship,” she said. “It could provide a certain hardship (for) seniors or college students. . . . We just see it as a negative.”

But Kozlowski said Massachusetts legislators should look to the Hoosier State, which requires a photo ID at the polls, but also offers an Indiana state ID card — for free.

“Between now and when this law goes into effect, either the Legislature can address the fee or the Registry can waive it.”

(c)2011 the Boston Herald

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