FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Martin Michael Schmotzer
Schmotzer: Vote suppression law like Bonusgate;
Act now to make sure you can vote in November
PITTSBURGH, Aug. 17 – State Rep. Martin Michael Schmotzer, D-Allegheny, said the Commonwealth Court ruling allowing the new voter ID law to take effect is a massive injustice and that the law reminds him of a recent Pennsylvania political scandal.
"The voter ID law will cost Pennsylvania taxpayers up to $11 million to implement, and the House Republican majority leader made comments indicating it was passed for partisan political purposes, to 'allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.' The main difference between that and Bonusgate is that, so far, this law has been deemed legal, unlike Bonusgate, where people were prosecuted for using millions of taxpayer dollars for partisan political purposes," Schmotzer said. "As attorney general, Tom Corbett prosecuted people for using the legislature and taxpayer resources for political party gain, but as governor, he signed this into law.
"There is no epidemic of voter impersonation fraud, which is the only type of fraud the voter ID law could prevent. This law is a waste of money and a violation of a fundamental constitutional right.
"While I hope the state Supreme Court, the U.S. Department of Justice or both act to block this unjust law, Pennsylvanians should not count on that. I urge everyone to act now to make sure they have an ID that qualifies under the new law and that your name and address match what is in the voter registration records. Don't just assume you will be OK.
"It can take several weeks to get paperwork processed or to have your documents corrected to show your married name or current address, for example. You should call your county board of elections if you have any doubt at all whether your ID might be accepted on Election Day. Millions of Americans have fought for our right to vote, and many of them made the ultimate sacrifice to protect basic freedoms such as this.
"Last spring, I talked with several people who didn't vote in the primary. Some of them were under the mistaken impression the law was already fully in effect. Many of them said things like 'I served in World War II or Korea, and I've been a good citizen for 50 years. I shouldn't have to show a photo ID when I've been voting in the same place for years.' Unfortunately, at least for now, this restrictive new law is still in force.
"I also want everyone to know that PennDOT is NOT allowed to charge you for a free non-driver photo ID if you need it for voting. In addition to filling out PennDOT form DL-54A – Application for an Initial Photo Identification Card, make sure you ask for and complete the Oath/Affirmation Voter ID form when you visit the driver license center so the usual $13.50 fee is waived."
More information about the new law's requirements is available online at www.pahouse.com/VoterID or by contacting Schmotzer's office at 412-343-2094. The Allegheny County Elections Division can be reached at 412-350-4500.