FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski
Pashinski bill attacks voter ID law scam
758,000 voters lack PennDOT photo IDs
HARRISBURG, July 10 – With the Corbett administration acknowledging that 9 percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania do not have the most common types of PennDOT issued IDs, state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, is introducing legislation to reschedule implementation of the state’s controversial and severely flawed voter ID law until the 2016 general election.
"If the architects of the voter ID law truly believe in protecting the integrity of our elections then they’ll support this temporary delay to prevent potentially 758,000 people from being denied the right to vote," Pashinski said. "Voting is a fundamental American right and rushing to enforce this law threatens that right."
Pashinski’s bills, H.B. 2497 and H.B. 2498, would amend Act 18 of 2012 which requires voters to show a valid driver’s license or other approved photo ID starting with the general election this November. The Pennsylvania Department of State recently issued a report that found 758,000 or 9.2 percent of the state’s 8.2 million registered voters do not have a valid driver’s license or photo ID issued by PennDOT,
Senior citizens, people with disabilities or illness, African-Americans, young adults and the working poor are twice as likely to lack a valid photo ID needed to vote.
"Voter impersonation fraud is a myth. It’s a low reward; high risk crime that evidence shows is virtually non-existent. There have only been four convictions for voter fraud out of 20 million votes cast in Pennsylvania since 2004.
"There’s no risk in protecting voters’ rights by providing two election cycles for people to prepare before this major change to our election process," he said.
Pashinski said that House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, accidentally revealed the true purpose of the law when he said, "Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania – done."
"House Majority Leader Turzai’s comments prove this bill was rushed through the legislature with the goal of preventing some people from voting so Governor Romney and other Republicans can fix elections.
"Republican insistence that voter impersonation fraud is common is mystifying considering their success in races for state House, Senate and the governor’s office," he said.
Pashinski said he is not opposed to the concept of requiring a photo ID to vote, but the legislation creating the law has egregious flaws which forces dramatic changes to the election process too quickly.
"The law has created a complicated and complex web of rules and the Corbett administration keeps changing its interpretation of those rules. It’s irresponsible to expect millions of citizens and thousands of election workers – many senior citizens volunteering their time – to understand every detail by November when historic turnout is possible," he said.
Pashinski said his bill would give people an opportunity to navigate the time consuming bureaucracy to obtain all of the documents necessary to get a photo ID and enable counties to adequately train election workers.
"This law is particularly unfair to seniors. Nearly one in five Americans older than 65 no longer drive and don’t have the photo ID necessary to vote in November. After decades of voting, we’re asking seniors to jump through bureaucratic hoops to protect their right to vote. That’s wrong and they deserve better," he said.
Pashinski noted his bill would give colleges and universities time to revise student IDs to comply with the law. The overwhelming majority of college IDs will be rejected at the polls in November because the institutions do not include an expiration date.
"Elections cannot be free and fair if eligible voters are not allowed to vote. We must proceed carefully and get this right," he said.