A measure that could become one of the nation’s toughest photo identification laws for voters headed toward a third day of debate in Pennsylvania’s state House of Representatives as the sparring between Democrats and Republicans on Tuesday showed no signs of changing minds on a key election-year issue for both sides. Republicans who are pressing the bill easily beat back procedural challenges by Democrats earlier in the day, and its passage in the House is the last step before it goes to Gov. Tom Corbett, who said Tuesday he would sign it immediately. House Majority Whip Stan Saylor of York County said the delay until Wednesday after six hours of debate did not mean that support for the bill is wavering within Republican ranks. Republicans were committed to giving Democrats ample time to speak, and added Thursday to the calendar as a potential voting session day in case it’s needed, Saylor said.
The bill would require voters to show photo identification before their votes could be counted beginning with this year’s presidential election. It is touted by Republicans as a way to prevent voter fraud, which they say is most likely going undetected and may not be prosecuted even when discovered.
But Democrats attacked it as a veiled attempt to defeat President Barack Obama by making it harder for people who tend to vote Democratic to cast ballots, such as the poor, minorities and college students — as well as the elderly and disabled.