It’s been put off for this week, but when lawmakers return from recess they’ll likely take up debate on a law requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls. We took a look at arguments for and against the bill when it was introduced. Today, we take a look at the politics.
Each party is digging in, and each sees itself with the upper hand in the battle for public opinion.
The measure, introduced by State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe and most popular among conservatives and tea partiers, aims to tackle voter fraud. Proponents say the bill would eliminate voting by people not registered, people voting multiple times, illegal immigrants voting and most of the horror stories they hear about elections in inner-city Philadelphia.
Supporters admit that there haven’t been many recorded cases of fraud in Pennsylvania, but say that comes from a lack of reporting or partisan oversight of elections. Worst case scenario, they argue, the law will prevent future fraud.
The Associated Press reports that 13 states now require photo IDs, and 16 others require non photo identification.
Democrats are seeking to draw attention to the effort, arguing that the new requirements will disenfranchise voters. They believe they have the upper hand in this issue.
“The expensive proposal is nothing more than a political power grab by the GOP at the expense of seniors, students, minorities and low income Pennsylvanians,” said the party in a press release this week.
Since there is no evidence of significant voter fraud, they say, why risk disenfranchising legitimate voters?
The Dems note that the current voting system already requires citizens to show proof of identity on one’s initial visit to a designated polling location, and that the left-leaning Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has estimated that the cost of new photo IDs could reach $11 million.