PA House Committee Passes Bill That Would Have Detrimental Impact on Low-income Voters

On Monday, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives State Government Committee passed HB 934, which would require voters to present identification each time they visit their polling place. This change was enacted in order to curb voter fraud, which of course, is detrimental to the election process that is central to our system of government.

But how widespread is voter fraud in Pennsylvania? In the 2008 presidential election, an election with comparatively higher voter turnout, only four people were charged with misrepresentation. This is only four out of the almost 6 million people who voted in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, more than four people will be affected by the new hurdles to voting imposed by this bill.

The Committee seems to have completely ignored the reality that not all Pennsylvanians have the identification that this bill would require in order to vote. Identification such as drivers licenses, passports, military IDs, bank statements and current paychecks are not as universally available as the House members who voted for the bill seem to think they are. This bill creates a structure in which people with jobs, cars, military service, and money in their bank accounts are allowed to vote, while people who do not have access to these privileges are denied their right to vote.

The bill includes a provision where someone who cannot afford an id can cast a provisional ballot, but then they must appear before the County Board of Elections within six days to sign an affidavit stating that they are indigent and are unable to pay for identification. That is unacceptable.  We need to make the voting accessible for all Pennsylvanians, not create restrictive and humiliating hoops to jump through.

Contact your representative today and ask them not to support this bill. You can remind them that voting is a cherished right for all citizens and should not be conditional on whether residents are privileged enough to have drivers licenses or bank accounts.

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