The so-called “Voter ID” bill that was approved by the Pennsylvania's House of Representatives requiring voters to present photo identification at the polls is extreme, brazen and only serves to discourage residents from voting.
The ID requirements that will be in effect for the November General Election will burden many voters, especially the elderly, minorities, people with disabilities and those living in urban areas who do not need a driver’s license, who do not typically have the specified types of identification.
And what is the cost burden of this unnecessary legislation? The Department of Transportation would be required, within the guidelines specified in the law, to issue free identification cards to those who apply and swear they had no other acceptable proof of identity for voting. Funding will be needed by PennDOT for the provision of these no cost documents. It has been proposed by an incumbent legislator who voted for the bill that costs to implement the law, not currently an allocated item in the austere state budget will “appear” in the General Fund and that Pennsylvania will provide free photo identification documents using vans traveling around the state to do so.
It is curious that the members of the majority party who voted for approval of this legislation will take into consideration funding the law that leans toward exclusion, with funds that have been collected to provide programs and policies for the Commonwealth in total.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has never had a history of rampant voter fraud, which prompts the question, “Why at this particular time was this legislation drafted, steered through committee, debated and voted upon with such urgency?”
The outcome of these unnecessary voter requirements is that the majority party has successfully implemented a strategy for voter suppression and exclusion, just in time for the General Election in order to attempt to thwart the re-election campaign of President Obama.
And what is coming next? Will there be more legislation proposed in the future for even more restrictive voter requirements focusing on impossible- to-answer questions for access to the polls, a pre-paid “voting tax,” or perhaps the requirement to have “one’s papers in one’s possession at all times” to establish citizenship status and to cast a vote? Where will this all end?
Andrea L. Baptiste