Gov Corbett signed PA’s voter ID bill into law on Wed; requiring voters to present ID at the polls.
After 3 days of debate in the PA House of Reps, the House passed the Senate’s amended version of their original bill 104-88. The bill was immediately presented and signed by Gov Corbett, prior to his boarding a plane for a trade mission to Europe. The law will now most likely make its round in court.
It is common in our society today if you want to purchase alcohol, cigarettes, fill a prescription, board a plane or train, cash a check, drive a car, etc., you will have to show photo identification. Lawmakers in Harrisburg have added one more thing to that list, voting. 15 states already require voters to show some form of photo ID when they go to vote, and PA has now joined that list to make it 16. In a recent poll done by the Terry Madonna Opinion Research polling firm, a group publicly against the idea of a photo ID, showed that 87% of Pennsylvanians support the idea of requiring photo ID to vote.
During debate in the PA Senate, Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi argued that “this bill is a simple common sense measure to protect the integrity of the voting process… the very foundation of our democracy.” Sen. Andy Dinniman says this is not about protecting the integrity of the vote. Instead Sen Dinniman argues that no one has been able to show that there is mass voter fraud and therefore this legislation is protecting a “problem that doesn’t exist.”
Now that the bill is law, voters will be required to show photo identification (passport, driver’s license, PennDOT photo ID card, college ID card, senior care facility card, military ID card, Federal, State, County or municipal employee cards) every time they vote. If an eligible PA voter does not have an ID card, PennDOT will provide an ID card at no cost to the voter. The PA Dept of State estimates that 1% of eligible voters do not currently have ID and the cost to provide them a free card would be in the neighborhood of $1m.
The PA Dept of State is now tasked with running a state-wide education campaign informing voters to bring their ID with them when they vote, and how to get one if they do not currently have one. ID’s will be requested in the primary election scheduled for Apr 24th, but required for the general election on Nov 6th. Stay tuned to the Dept of State’s VotesPA website for more information.