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Pennsylvania House measure would require voter identication card


JANUARY 2011, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Pennsylvania House measure would require voter identication card


REGION, December 22nd- Many state legislatures, including Pennsylvania, have been working overtime to pass laws to restrict and disenfranchise many voters, mostly students, people of color, lower income citizens, people with disabilities and senior citizens, to vote in the 2012 elections. Republican party members and their supporters are behind most of the legislation.

From voter identification requirements to limits on voter registration, fourteen states have passed laws in 2011 that will likely have a impact on the 2012 presidential race and the other federal elections.

Overall, 34 states have introduced legislation, including Pennsylvania, that would require photo identification to vote in 2012.

The move is mostly being supported by Republican party members and Democrats charge the GOP members of attempting to suppress the votes of the elderly, many that are still Franklin Roosevelt Democrats, young and the low income citizens, and minority groups, which polls show are more likely to support Democrats.

The reason Republicans give for the legislation is because of “voter fraud” however, according to several studies, the problem is not an issue.

A five-year study released by the Bush Administration Justice Department found virtually no evidence of voter fraud and only a few mistakes that have allowed ineligible voters to participate in elections.

From 2002 to 2007, the Bush Administration ordered its United States attorney generals in every state to look for and prosecute cases of voter fraud. Only 120 people were charged nationwide, with just 86 convictions out of 300 million votes nationwide cast.

The report stated many of those cases involved errors, not deliberate fraud, by people who appeared to have mistakenly filled out registration forms or misunderstood eligibility rules.

“I am concerned about a measure the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed that aims to limit one of the duties and liberties many have fought and died for: a citizen’s right to vote. The voter ID legislation, if passed, will silence many minority, low-income and senior voters throughout the Commonwealth. These groups are more likely than any other to lack an acceptable form of identification at the polls. This measure is an attempt at disenfranchising voters whose needs may not fall in line with the Republican majority in the Commonwealth. Over the last decade, out of an estimated 20 million ballots, we’ve only seen four cases of voter fraud. Relatively speaking, if only four out of 20 million students failed in school, we would consider that outstanding. In only four out of 20 million were unemployed, we would consider that full employment,” stated Representative Ronald Waters, (Democrat-191st Legislative District).

Of the 34 states that have introduced legislation that would require state-issued photo identification requirements; 12 are seeking proof of citizenship; 13 are restricting voter registration and nine are reducing early and absentee voting.

“For some reason the proponents of mandatory voter ID think that four out of 20 million people commiting voter fraud is a major problem. Those that support this measure are trying to prevent a problem that is nearly nonexistent. This is a solution in search of a problem. We should not create barriers to people expressing their constitutional right to vote. We should encourage voter turnout and seek ways to increase participation,” added Mr. Waters.

Approximately 21 million American adults don’t have a government-issued photo identification card, or can’t get access to one.

About 18 percent of young voters have no ID, while around 15 percent of lower-income people lack a valid card. Also, nearly 25 percent of voting-age African-American citizens, or 5.5 million people, do not have a photo identification card.

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