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Pa. Legislature Passes Controversial Voter ID Card Mandate

By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Less than eight months before the presidential election, Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives has approved a measure to establish one of the nation’s toughest photo identification laws for voters.

The 104-88 vote this afternoon in the Republican-controlled chamber came after three days of debate. The measure heads to Gov. Tom Corbett, also a Republican, who says he’ll sign it into law immediately.

A court challenge is expected.

dermody frank  romeo Pa. Legislature Passes Controversial Voter ID Card Mandate

(Pa. House minority leader Frank Dermody, after failing to block passage of the voter ID bill. Credit: Tony Romeo)

Democrats have criticized the measure as a veiled effort to defeat President Obama by suppressing some traditionally Democratic voters, such as minorities, the poor, and college students, while making it more difficult for the elderly and disabled (related story).

As debate on the measure that spanned three days drew to a close, Rep. Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny County, right), the minority leader, contended that even though people without a photo ID would be allowed to get one from PennDOT without charge, there would be other costs and delays, particularly for those who may need documentation like a birth certificate.

“It is not free. This a stealth poll tax. We are going back to the old days,” he said angrily.

But Republicans say the measure will combat voter fraud and protect the sanctity of elections through the use of widely available IDs (see previous story).  During House floor debate, Rep. Kate Harper (R-Montgomery County) said that the Corbett administration has agreed to help seniors who need photos IDs get one.

“They will work with the Department of Aging and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to make sure that any senior who no longer has a valid driver’s license can neverthetheless vote,” she said.

County officials around the Commonwealth, meanwhile, warn the mandate will unnecessarily lengthen Election Day lines (related story).

More from Tony Romeo
  • Steelman

    It’s about time, you are either an intentional liar or easily mislead. There is no proof anywhere that ACORN registered “millions” of “false voters”. The effort to register new voters resulted in individuals trying to turn in fake registrations, but they were caught and exposed. (They were paid for the number of new voters, so there was an unfortunate incentive for dishonest people.) There was never a shred of evidence that ACORN was intentionally falsifying records. Further, where is any proof that a single fake voter ever cast a ballot? Hasn’t ACORN been out of business for years? Find a new boogey man…

  • sadamerican

    Good for PA! I don’t care who you are, I would gladly take my neighbors to get an ID, DEM or REP if they had no transpo. The integrity of our system is at stake. What is the problem with proving who you are? I want my one vote to count just as I want one vote for every live person that is legal to vote. No duplicates, no empty lot addresses, no busiing college students across state lines, no indimidation that DOJ ignores, no chicago politics..etc. Is it too much to ask of our people in the greatest country in the world to be civil and honest?

  • Camel's back

    I remember the first time I voted years ago, I was shocked that you didn’t have to show your drivers license or any form of ID. It is pure common sense to do so. I can’t believe people are actually upset by this. There is plenty of time between now and the election to get an ID. I would think people from both parties would welcome this as it protects the integrity of their vote.

  • Mike

    You need a photo ID to purchase alcohol, open a bank account, get a job, and get welfare benefits. So now, it’s a big thing that you have to show your photo ID at the polling place? Really? I don’t think so. Democrats have been relying on voter fraud for decades and now its come to a tipping point. That’s what they’re in a tiff about.

  • Johan

    I guess the Pa.lawmakers haven’t heard or don’t care that theU.S. Department of Justice rejected the voter ID law of Texas. What makes them think they will be different.

  • lknowledge

    I’m not surprised that Governor KKKorbett and Blueshirt Toomey and their minions have done this, they take orders from his loathsomeness Rush The First! William Penn must be weeping, as must Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam, besides Lincoln and TFFS.

    • It's About Time


      You need an ID for just about everything today (airport, bars, etc.). What it really is the first time we can now say, sorry, if you’re illegal, you can’t vote. Get an ID!

      • lknowledge

        How much of my parent’s taxes is the Gov paying you to say that? And, Voting is different from entering an airport or a bar. And the reason why those requirements are in those places is because there have been problems with people in those places, FAR more so than in voting booths, which has just been used as an excuse to deny the elderly and minorities the governmental rights which they are entitled. goodbye.

  • shamrock

    Rejoice citizens! This is a very positive first step to create a system with integrity. We should all be anxious to do whatever it takes to get this into working order -rich or poor, whatever party affiliation. We want our vote to count and be meaningful. That is what matters. People are tired of the past abuses to our voting system. We have an opportunity, one and all, to get our photo IDs, be responsible citizens, and take pride that here in PA we want to make a positive difference.

  • Cleanup Philly

    How does it waste any money when the PA Dept. of State says it will only cost about $1 million to help the 1% of the population without a photo ID? That was from the testimony presented to pass the bill, per the Delco Times.

    • Whatsup

      churches here in PA are organizing voter registrations after Sunday Mass so voter ID could be done at the same time, you can Praise the Lord, then go and register to vote and get your photo ID at the same time. This is no problem unless you have something to hide.

  • Johan

    Just a waste of the taxpayer dollar, but then that never stopped the republicans. Pa. is starting to look more and more like Alabama and Mississippi.

    • Whatsup

      cleaning up our voter rolls of all those millions of ACORN “registered” voters should be a priority no matter what the costs.

      • It's About Time

        Johan, you are ridiculous in your statement. And I agree with Whatsup, ACORN registered millions of false voters to help Obama get elected. Now, we have a system that says, no ID, no vote. It isn’t hard to get a picture ID unless you have something to hide!

  • Cleanup Philly

    How does this suppress a minority voter, since you needed a photo ID to vote for the first time anyway?

    • Midnite Rose

      If you been voting 20yrs or so,you may not have an ID now or up to date. And IDs expires in 4yrs. I take no papers or wallet in with me when I vote. And I can’t come back in & pretend to be someone else. I want the credit for me voting.

      • It's About Time

        Midnite Rose, if your ID has expired, get a new one! I do every 4 years! Is called due process! And if you don’t have one, get one! Cause by my math, your about 40 now! Unless you have something to hide!

    • Midnite Rose

      They are not talking about 1st time voters. Is every time but why? They have your signatures.

      • Cleanup Philly

        Think about it — how can someone who has ALREADY voted and needed a photo ID to do that now be “disenfranchised” and “not able” to vote since they would have needed a photo ID to vote in the first place?

  • Cleanup Philly

    Don’t you need a photo ID to vote for the first time in PA anyway?

  • Linda D Bryant


    I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL NOVEMBER–I’VE GOT PLENTY OF ID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • It's About Time

      Linda, this isn’t a blatant attempt to stifle minorities. Quit playing the “Race” card! This is an attempt to get qualified legal people to vote. Not ACORN voters like yourself!

      • Hater

        She’s just mad because now she can only vote once.

    • Whatsup

      did you register with ACORN, II’d say you are a candidate for a voter ID.

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