A controversial proposal requiring all Pennsylvania voters to show certain photo identification at their polling places could make it more difficult for many disabled veterans to cast ballots. The legislation being debated by the state House would not permit disabled veterans to use photo ID cards issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that are not stamped with an expiration date. Republicans who support the voter ID measure say the intention of the bill is to crack down on voter fraud, and they say requiring voters to produce a recent photo of themselves is crucial to the effort. But critics say the legislation is a slap in the face to Americans who served their country and are merely seeking to exercise their civic duty.
Local Democrats are up in arms about a controversial voter ID bill that would exclude veterans’ identification cards from the short list of photo IDs required to cast a vote in Texas. Ann McGeehan, director of the Secretary of State’s elections division, said last week at a seminar in Austin that photo ID cards issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are not acceptable forms of military ID to vote, according to a recording provided by the Texas Democratic Party. Jordy Keith, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state, backpedaled Friday on that determination.
“It was an informal Q&A, and (McGeehan) was answering based on what was expressly called out in Senate Bill 14,” Keith said. “Right now our office has not issued a final determination on that.”
Passed after Gov. Rick Perry declared voter ID an emergency issue in the last session, the strict bill is touted by Republicans as a way to reduce voter fraud but decried by Democrats as an effort to lower voter turnout among minorities and the elderly, disabled and poor.