FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Babette Josephs
Josephs joins more than 60 other legislators on bill to repeal voter ID law
HARRISBURG, April 18 Ė State Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Phila., has co-sponsored a bill that would repeal the Voter ID law.
In March, the Republicans passed a voter ID measure, which the governor signed, requiring all voters to provide a government-issued photo ID before being permitted to cast their ballots. Although the law does not fully go into effect until the fall, county election workers will ask voters in next week's primary election to show their ID. Even if voters did not bring photo ID with them, they will still be permitted to vote. That will not be the case for the November general election.
"This law is designed to suppress voter turnout," Josephs said. "I'm sure that a court in Pennsylvania, either federal or state, will rule that the bill is unconstitutional and discriminatory, and strike it down. But we canít just sit around and wait for that to happen. The longer we wait, the more eligible voters will be disenfranchised. That's why I am supporting legislation to repeal this voter suppression law."
In spite of the reports that as many as 700,000 people will have to obtain photo ID in order to vote, many of them senior citizens, urban and low-income residents, Josephs said Republicans pushed through this law without care or consideration.
"That millions of dollars that will be wasted on this proposal is appalling," Josephs said. "The governor and Republican leaders are willing to take money from education, seniors, the sick and disabled, and the environment and spend it on free identification without any evidence of a voter impersonation problem. This is not what Pennsylvanians want. No one is calling for a plan that makes voting more difficult and puts up more barriers. Not one of the hundreds of emails and calls I have received on this issue is in support. This is not representation; itís tyranny."
In addition to making it harder for some people to vote, the state has made it difficult for many to obtain a photo ID for voting. The law authorizes a free photo ID card for anyone who doesn't have acceptable ID for voting purposes. However, multiple news outlets have reported that Transportation Department workers are turning people away or still charging people the $13.50 fee for the card that should be free.
"I will not stand for the disenfranchisement of American citizens, simply because the Republicans want to suppress urban turnout in a presidential election year. If you run into problems with PennDOT or anywhere else, be in touch with any Philadelphia elected official. We are absolutely committed to making sure you get the proper papers. No one who has the right to vote will be turned away. That is my promise to every constituent," Josephs said.
The voter ID repeal bill (H.B. 2313) currently has more than 60 co-sponsors.