Changes made to a proposal that would require all voters to show photo identification at their polling place are intended to address concerns about potentially disenfranchising some legitimate voters.
An amendment added to the House-passed voter ID bill by the Senate State Government Committee this week would allow voters to use IDs issued by colleges and nursing homes in addition to official state IDs, such as drivers’ licenses. In addition, absentee voters would be required to include their drivers’ license or Social Security number on the form for their absentee ballot. Another change would allow voters without a valid ID to cast a provisional ballot that would become official if they supply a valid ID — via mail, fax or in person — to their county election officials within six days of the election.
“This is a balancing act. We’re not trying to disenfranchise anyone, but at the same time we do not want our system of underlying democracy to be manipulated in any way,” said state Sen. Charles McIllhinney, R-Bucks, chairman of the committee. Democrats and other opponents of the voter ID proposal said the bill puts voting rights at risk, particularly for the elderly and minorities.
State Sen. Anthony Williams, D-Philadelphia, said there is no crisis of fraudulent voting for the bill to address and suggested that if a problem existed, the Attorney General’s Office should investigate it before legislation is passed.
“To say that it is a crisis and that the house is on fire, that should require someone to show us that the house is on fire,” Williams said. “I’m very concerned about putting restrictions on one’s ability to vote.”
Democrats supported the amendment to the voter ID bill, but opposed the bill when it was passed out of the committee.
McIllhinney said Gov. Tom Corbett is pushing the bill, but his intention was to soften some of the requirements to avoid disenfranchising legitimate voters, while maintaining the “security check” of the original bill.
Full Article: Voter ID bill undergoes changes | PoconoRecord.com.