FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Babette Josephs
House Democrats object to voter photo ID bill
HARRISBURG, June 6 – At a Capitol news conference today, state Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Phila., and other Democratic House members protested legislation they said is designed to suppress voter turnout.
At issue is H.B. 934, which would require voters to provide valid photo identification each time they vote, and is scheduled for full House consideration Tuesday.
Current law only requires a first-time voter to provide ID, and the identification does not have to include a photograph. A valid voter registration card or current utility bill are two examples of legal, acceptable ID.
"If enacted as is, this bill will have the disturbing effect of suppressing voter turnout with other people's money," Josephs said. "It will prevent law-abiding voters from exercising their constitutional right to vote, and it will cost the state nearly $10 million to provide valid photo identification to nearly 700,000 Pennsylvanians who lack photo ID -- about half of them senior citizens."
Jean Friday, president of the Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans, said this bill would make it difficult for many senior citizens to vote -- an action many of them have participated in for decades.
"For those who drive, obtaining a photo ID is a minor nuisance, but for others, it's a major obstacle," Friday said. "To seniors, this is an issue of respect."
House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody said this bill was a solution in search of a problem.
"It's a smokescreen. They're proposing a budget that cuts education by a billion dollars and makes devastating cuts to programs that provide care for seniors, protect children and adults with disabilities and support hospitals," he said. "It's no wonder that they're afraid people will go to vote."
Cassie Holdworth-James, a member/organizer of ADAPT and Disabled in Action of Pennsylvania, agreed. She said that the Republicans want to mess with voting because people are angry.
"If this bill becomes law, I will be sure everyone has a voter ID because they better get out and vote for their lives," she said. "It's not about fraud, it's about civil rights."
Other members attending the news conference to object to the legislation were state Reps. Dan Frankel, Eddie Day Pashinski, Flo Fabrizio, Brendan Boyle, Tim Briggs, Mike Hanna, Greg Vitali and Bryan Barbin.
Josephs said she will continue to oppose this legislation and any other measures that create barriers to voting. More than 30 organizations also oppose this legislation.