FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland
Kirkland says voter photo ID law is reverse step toward ‘bad old days’
HARRISBURG, March 19 – State Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, D-Delaware, today said last week had to be one of the worst for Pennsylvania in a long time, headlined by the passage and signing of the voter photo identification law.
“On March 11, we turned our clocks ahead one hour for Daylight Savings Time,” said Kirkland. “Three days later, Governor Corbett turned them back 100 years.”
Kirkland said by requiring photographic identification, the new law threatens to disenfranchise up to 700,000 Pennsylvania voters who do not have a driver’s license. Many are urban residents, are a member of a minority, depend on mass transit instead of a car, and the majority tend to vote Democratic.
“If you don’t have a driver’s license or other specific ID, you will be stopped from voting,” said Kirkland. “The only option will be the drawn out process involved in casting a provisional ballot. It echoes of the rigged literacy test used to keep down the black vote in the old south.”
Kirkland said that while many of the bill’s supporters may not have advocated for it on racial grounds, the end effect will be much the same.
“Hearing the ridiculously shallow arguments in favor of the bill, and all but three Republicans voting in its favor, gave me a taste of how black members of state assemblies in the South must have felt a few years after the Civil War,” Kirkland said. “Reconstruction was sabotaged and the rights of blacks reduced to dust for another century.”
In addition to affecting many urban minority voters, the voter photo identification law will likely impact a significant number of elderly residents across the commonwealth, he said. They would be those that no longer have a driver’s license and don’t have a birth certificate to get a state-issued photo identity card because they were born at home, and no birth certificate was issued.
Kirkland said that in addition to an expected legal challenge to the bill, he and other legislators and organizations will establish programs to help people without a driver’s license obtain the proper photo identification before the requirement goes into effect for the November election.
Video of Kirkland’s floor argument against enactment of the law can be seen on his website at www.pahouse.com/Kirkland and clicking on ‘video’ in the left hand column.