State Law Requires Photo ID to Vote
The law requires voters to present photo identification at the polls, starting with a test run at next month's primary.
Gov. Tom Corbett on Wednesday night signed into law legislation that will require voters to present identification at the polls.
The legislation requires each voter to present proof of identification at every election, beginning with a test-run during the April 24 primary. Voters will be asked to provide photo ID for the primary, but will still be allowed to vote if they don’t have it.
Those who do not have a photo ID will be able to acquire one at no charge from the state Department of Transportation’s photo centers. The nearest photo center in this area is at the Chartiers Valley Shopping Center.
Information on the process and what is needed to get a photo ID can be found at http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/voter/voteridlaw.shtml.
Matthew Keeler, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of State, said they don't expect delays from additional stress placed on the photo license center because of additional people who will need identification.
“At this point, we knew going forward this would happen,” Keeler said. “We don’t foresee any issues.”
Proponents of the bill, such as House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny County, praised the law, saying it will “strengthen voter identification and enfranchise all voters.” According to Turzai, a uniform voter identification requirement “assures all voters will be treated equally and fairly and will prevent some voters from being singled out for identification while other voters are allowed to vote without identifying themselves.”
But state Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil Township, disagreed. White voted no on the bill saying that several flaws with the legislation jumped out during floor debate.
He pointed to an issue of disabled veterans and their identification. He said because of technical requirements in the legislation regarding acceptable forms of identification, the type now issued to disabled veterans “would not qualify under the bill.”
“It could actually have the unintended consequence of disenfranchising voters who fought and shed blood for our country,” he said.
White added: "Voting is a fundamental, constitutional right, and if we're going to do anything that infringes on that right, we need to make sure no one will be disenfranchised. This bill fails at that spectacularly."
And he said that while proponents of the bill have said the legislation "isn't about the 2012 election, the fact the majority rammed it through after acknowledging that there were flaws certainly makes you wonder whether this was more about politics than policy."
This story originally appeared on Canon-Mac Patch