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Critics of Pa. Voter ID Legislation Say It Causes, Not Fixes, Problems

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Area election officials and voter rights advocates say the photo ID bill currently under consideration by the Pennsylvania legislature (see related story) is likely to create voting problems, not solve them.

That’s because the type of voter fraud the bill addresses is not considered a problem by officials in this region we spoke with.

The bill, say its proponents, would prevent someone from pretending to be a voter because everyone would have to present a photo ID to vote.

“It is a phony issue that is manufactured by ideologues on the right,” says Montgomery County commissioner Josh Shapiro, who says there’s no evidence that this type of voter fraud is a problem in Pennsylvania, given the safeguards that already exist.

Karen Buck, of the Senior Law Project, works with some of the most loyal voters, the elderly.  But they too, she says, will be hurt by the bill.

“Eighteen percent of older Americans do not currently have photo ID,” according to Buck.  She doesn’t see voter impersonation as a problem.  “One is more likely to be struck by lightning than impersonated at the polls.”

Read the KYW Regional Affairs Council Series, “Senior Scams — How To Protect Your Parents”

Tthe bipartisan County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania opposes the bill. They say it will be costly and cause long lines.

Stephanie Singer, chair of the Philadelphia City Commission (which runs elections in the city), concedes that the city has had cases of voter fraud, but she says the bill doesn’t address the real problems that exist.

“If this legislature were serious about it, they would be funding poll worker training, data forensics, aggressive investigation of the voter registration lists,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

Singer and Shapiro note that the bill is identical to legislation introduced in many states that was written by a conservative group called ALEC — the American Legislative Exchange Council.   Voter ID laws in other states have faced stiff legal opposition; recently, similar laws in Texas and Wisconsin have been overturned in the courts.

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  • Another Jean

    An ID to go to the movies? Get real. Supporters of voter ID completely ignore the fact that many older people long ago stopped driving, and have no photo ID. Their age and reduced mobility makes it difficult for them to go to photo ID locations, while polling places are often nearer their homes. We are talking about people who fought in World War II, and worked for civil rights. Now you want to disenfranchise them because they live alone or in elder care and don’t have the free access you assume that everyone has. The right to vote is fundamental, and we should all be outraged that our tax dollars are being wasted in an effort to take away the right that many people have been eligible for since before you were born.

  • whatsup

    Church are organizing voter registration drives after Mass on Sundays, why can’t the folks, praise the Lord, then go and register to vote and then have your picture taken and phote ID issued it is no problem. In NC they have a bus that goes to neighbors at No cost, to make it as easy as possible. Only someone with something to hide is against photo ID’s to vote. You have to show an ID to go to the movies for pete’s sake.

  • grumpy

    This is a $12,000,000.00 solution looking for a problem. I thought that this state was BROKE!

  • Joyce

    you have to have ID to purchase cold medicine and to return items at a store.
    Get a photo ID, it isn’t hard and then you have it for other things besides voting.

  • Chris

    Its not a one party issue like the critics want you to beleive… and responsible adults have ID’s….


    • More BS

      Philly Dems live on voter fraud, so they don’t see a problem. They have more votes than eligible voters.

  • Cleanup Philly

    I’ve complained more than once about voter fraud at the polls in Philly, but was told I didn’t “have enough evidence” for them to “open an investigation.

    Of course they don’t find voter impersonation if they never check.

    Meanwhile, Pew found that 1. 8 million dead people are registered to vote in the US, and there was the ACORN voter registration scandal.

    Dems, there really is a problem. Why is just one party pretending there is not?

    • Another Jean

      And there have been voter registration drives where the workers changed the registrant’s affiliation from Democrat to Republican. It goes both ways, but voter fraud is still not a huge problem. Why is just one party pushing to re-legalize discrimination? (It’s pretty obvious.)

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