The State House Could Vote as soon as Wednesday on a deeply divisive proposal requiring voters to show photo identification before they cast their ballots.
In anticipation, the chamber’s Democrats gathered in the Capitol Media Center this afternoon to speak against the legislation, which they say is intended to suppress Democratic turnout and disenfranchise urban voters, college students and senior citizens.
The bill is a “solution in search of a problem,” Rep Babette Josephs of Philadelphia said of the legislation sponsored by House State Government Committee Chairman Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler.
“The Republicans in the General Assembly are poised to deliberately suppress the votes of law-abiding citizens,” Josephs, the state government committee’s ranking Democratic member said this afternoon. “They say it’s necessary to prevent fraud? Well, there is no fraud.”
In brief remarks, Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware, said his staff consulted with the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing and had only found four instances of voter misrepresentation in the 2004-2010 election cycles. Roughly 19.5 million ballots were cast in those elections, Vitali said.
Metcalfe could not immediately be reached for comment, But speaking to the Philadelphia Daily News last month, the western Pennsylvania lawmaker denied Democrats’ charges that the bill would keep people away from the polls.
“No barriers,” he said. “The state will offer a photo ID free of charge.”
Democrats say the cost of educating voters about the changes and producing the identification cards would cost the state millions of dollars. The state branch oft he American Civil Liberties Union has pegged the cost at around $11 million.
Full Article: Mcall.com: Capitol Ideas with John L. Micek Blog.