State House Committee Passes Expensive Bill That Will Disenfranchise Voters, Says ACLU Of PA

May 9, 2011 12:00 am

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HARRISBURG (May 9)- The Pennsylvania House State Government Committee today passed legislation that would create new barriers to voting by United States citizens, said the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. The committee voted in favor of House Bill 934, which requires government-issued photo identification from all voters, and the ACLU of Pennsylvania noted a significant percentage of citizens who do not have that type of ID.

“According to research, 11 percent of U.S. citizens do not have government-issued photo ID,” said Andy Hoover, legislative director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “Those without ID are disproportionately the elderly, African-Americans, and the working poor.

“Voter ID laws create barriers to the ballot box that, intended or not, remind us of our country’s sad history of denying the vote .”

Laws to require ID for voting have passed or have been considered in numerous states, and those states have found that these new laws would significantly increase their spending on elections. North Carolina, for example, estimated that a voter ID law would cost the state $18-$25 million over three years in new spending. The commonwealth would accrue costs for free ID cards, poll worker training, and public education efforts around the new law.

“At a time when the legislature and the governor are arguing over every dime, there’s no justification for passing this expensive bill,” Hoover said. “With no proof of a problem of voter impersonation, this bill is the equivalent of throwing away public money.”

At a hearing in March, supporters of HB 934 failed to provide proof of the type of election fraud that the bill would address. In fact, two witnesses admitted that they had no evidence of such a problem in Pennsylvania.

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