Amish voters in Pennsylvania would be included in a requirement to show government-issued identification in each election under legislation approved by the state House last week, but they could get an exemption from the requirement for a photo on the ID card.
Lawmakers tell the (Lancaster) Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era that Plain sect voters would be able to get a religious exemption from the provision requiring a photograph on ID cards. But to do so, they will have to clear more regulatory hurdles than the average voter, since getting such a card involves providing PennDOT with a statement of their beliefs signed by their church district’s bishop.
Rep. John Lawrence, R-Chester, who wrote the bill’s exemption provisions, said “They have to show a state-issued ID just like other voters. They’re not getting a pass.”
Under current law, voters must show a valid form of ID only the first time they vote. Under the bill approved Thursday by the House, voters would be required to show a government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot in any election.
Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster, voted against the legislation, saying it would suppress turnout. He also cited data that showed only four cases of misrepresentation at state polls since 2004 out of 19.4 million ballots cast.