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.
“For me, it’s the principle of the matter. … You know what they went through to get that ID? I don’t think most people do,” said Gary Schreckengost, a retired U.S. Army infantry major in the Army Reserve and veteran of wars in Bosnia and Iraq. “For them to flippantly say, ‘Oh, they can go get a driver’s license’ — you don’t understand all the bureaucratic crap they’ve already gone through,” said Schreckengost, who lives in Elm and alerted local lawmakers to the issue.
Ron Ruman, a spokesman for the Department of State, the agency that oversees election in Pennsylvania, said the bill would indeed require voters to show an ID that has an expiration date. IDs without an expiration date would not be accepted.
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