State senators in Harrisburg will soon consider House Bill 934, which would require citizens to provide one of a very short list of government-issued photo IDs in order to vote. It sounds simple, but it is not. If it became law, this bill would create one of the most extreme restrictions on voting in the country — and would threaten to needlessly disenfranchise a massive number of Pennsylvania citizens. Many Americans don’t have driver’s licenses or the other photo IDs that would meet H.B. 934’s narrow standards. Survey research indicates that 11 percent of voting-age citizens don’t have the limited forms of government-issued photo ID that would be accepted under H.B. 934 — even though these taxpayers and voters could prove their identity with other types of documents.
We know that 18 percent of American citizens over age 65 lack the type of photo ID required by H.B. 934, and more than 15 percent of Pennsylvania’s residents are 65 or older, the fourth highest percentage in the country. In the Pittsburgh metropolitan region that number is even higher — seniors 65 and older make up more than 17 percent of the population in five of its counties. These senior citizens are less likely to have the kind of ID needed to vote under the restrictions proposed by H.B. 934.
Some argue that 18 percent of seniors is a small group and the benefit to our elections could greatly outweigh the burden on a few elderly voters. But just as quickly as they weave this argument, it unravels. Looking only at Pennsylvania’s senior population, 18 percent works out to more than 350,000 Pennsylvanians. That is 50,000 more people than reside in the entire city of Pittsburgh: a significant number by any measure.
We are not just talking about seniors. Young people, low-income citizens and minority voters also are especially at risk of losing their votes. Eighteen percent of citizens aged 18-24 and a full 25 percent of voting-age African-American citizens lack current government-issued photo ID.
Full Article: Reject voter ID.