Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Photo Id Requirement Up for Vote in Pa. House

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Photo Id Requirement Up for Vote in Pa. House

Article excerpt

HARRISBURG -- A measure to require Pennsylvania residents to show photo identification in order to cast a ballot is poised for a final vote in the House this morning, after similar laws in two other states suffered blows from judges and federal officials on Monday.

Still, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett reiterated his support Monday morning, telling reporters that he does not believe arguments from critics who say that requiring one of a handful of specific identification cards will discourage and disenfranchise voters.

"There's no barrier to vote," Mr. Corbett said. "You have to have a photo ID to go just about anywhere these days. And if they don't ... we will be able to figure out a way to get them a photo."

The measure under consideration by the House and already passed by the Senate would require voters to present an identification card issued by state or federal government, as well as by Pennsylvania universities, nursing homes, counties and municipalities.

If a resident does not have one of those cards, the Department of Transportation will issue one at no charge to the voter.

Pennsylvania would join 15 other states in requiring the photo ID cards for balloting. According to New York University's Brennan Center for Justice, the proposal would be among the stricter laws because it offers virtually no exceptions to the photo requirement.

Echoing Republican lawmakers, Mr. Corbett said the change would help protect the electoral system from potential fraud.

"When some of the precincts in some areas have voted at 112 percent participation, you have to scratch your head and say, 'How does that happen?' " he said. Mr. Corbett did not have details available on locations where voting turnout exceeded registrations.

Democratic opponents, joined by groups such as the state's chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, dispute that there has been actual evidence of voter impersonation in the commonwealth. …

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