Pennsylvania Townhalls

Propose (and help rank) questions
By HieroB
#552
@Chris Quinn: I can't find any public statements by you about Voter ID laws. The PA GOP has been strongly for them in the past. Are you in agreement with them on this issue, and why? Would you have voted for the 2012 bill? Will you vote for new Voter ID bills in the future?

@Diane Cornman-Levy: I see that you have publicly come out against requiring photo ids for voting at your VoteSmart.org entry. Why do you hold this position?

I believe the below is a reasonable summary of the state of Voter ID laws in PA, it is quoted from this post:

  1. Voter ID laws require voters to show some form of identification at the polls, such as a driver's license or passport.
  2. Voter ID laws are new; prior to the 2006 election, no state ever required a voter to produce a government-issued photo ID as a condition to voting.
  3. Requiring a photo ID guards against only one form of voter fraud: in-person voter impersonation.
  4. The penalties for voter impersonation are very harsh (up to 5 years of prison and $10,000 fine), and the benefits are very small.
  5. As a consequence of point 4, in-person voter impersonation is almost non-existent in the U.S. - less than 1 instance per every 30 million votes cast.

The Pennsylvania legislature enacted a strict Voter ID law in 2012, HB 934. This law (which was later struck down by the judiciary) imposed a significant burden on some voters' ability to cast their vote:

  • Estimates from the Secretary of The Commonwealth, Carol Aichele, were that 9% of PA registered voters - more than 750,000 people - did not have identification that could be used to vote in the 2012 election.
  • Obtaining a "free voter" identification card typically costs an individual between $75 and $175. When legal fees are factored in, the cost can increase to over $1,000.
  • To put these costs into historical context, they are many times larger than the $1.50 poll tax which was outlawed by the 24th Amendment in 1964.

It is an openly admitted fact by PA GOP legislators that Voter ID bills are desirable (from their point of view) because they skew voting outcomes towards the political right:

  • PA House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) listed the 2012 Voter ID bill as a significant accomplishment and stated: "Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done." (Video)
  • Pennsylvania GOP Chairman Robert Gleason agreed with an interviewer's statement that the attention drawn to voter ID probably helped Republicans. "Yeah, I think a little bit. We probably had a better election. Think about this: We cut Obama by 5 percent, which was big. A lot of people lost sight of that. He beat McCain by 10 percent; he only beat Romney by 5 percent. And I think that probably photo ID helped a bit in that."(Video)

#VoterID, #VoterFraud, #Voting

@Diane Cornman-Levy
Campaign website: diane4pa.com/
Facebook: facebook.com/diane4pa]
Twitter: twitter.com/diane4pa]

@Chris Quinn
Campaign website: www.repchrisquinn.com
Official website: legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/member_information/House_bio.cfm?id=1741
Facebook: facebook.com/quinnforpa]