Democrats who conducted a policy committee hearing Wednesday questioned the necessity of the voter identification law enacted last month and the struggles it could present to Pennsylvania voters, as did many of those who testified about the law at the Waverly Community House. State Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich, D-Taylor, requested the hearing in his home district and served as co-chairman. The law “slams the brakes” on progress made to provide greater access to persons with disabilities, said Keith Williams, Clarks Green Borough Council president, and a community organizer for the Northeast Pennsylvania Center for Independent Living.
On a near-party line vote, the state House of Representatives approved a Republican-backed bill late Thursday night that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls. The bill now moves to the Republican-controlled state Senate for consideration.
The 108-88 vote saw all but one Republican who was present vote in favor of House Bill 934. All 87 Democrats present for the vote voted against the measure. Rep. Chris Ross, R-Unionville, was the lone dissenting Republican.
Some Democratic representatives serving portions of Luzerne County blasted the partisan vote and called the bill unnecessary. “This is a solution in search of a problem,” said Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre. He noted that since 2004, 20 million votes have been cast in Pennsylvania and six people have been arrested for voter fraud.