SCRANTON, March 16, 2012 – – Calling it another example of self-interest, party politics infecting governance and public policy, state Senator John Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) today commented on the Republican Voter ID bill signed into law by Governor Corbett Wednesday night.
House Bill 934 will require voters to present photo identification or a very narrow list of other accepted forms of identification each time they vote. It is estimated that there are more than 340,000 senior citizens in Pennsylvania that do not have a form of identification as is prescribed by this law.
“This law is an affront to county workers who have dedicated the better part of their lives to protect the integrity of our mature democratic process and it is an insult to many seniors, veterans and persons with disabilities who may not have the requisite photo identification,” Blake said.
Blake said that not only will this law be unreasonably costly, estimated to cost between $5 and $11 million in the first year and another $2.25 million per year every year going forward to reimburse PennDOT for providing free IDs to prospective voters, but also aims to solve a voter fraud problem that does not exist in Pennsylvania.
“Through three weeks of Appropriations Committee budget hearings, all I heard from the Corbett administration is that the legislature must cut state spending. This administration has cut billions of dollars from education, human services and economic development but somehow found the money to spend on a solving a problem that doesn’t exist – so we are using money we don’t have for something we don’t need,” Blake added. “This law will only protect against voter impersonation, which is so rare that Pennsylvania citizens are more likely to get struck by lightning.”
Blake said that legislating voter impersonation on a state level is unnecessary because it already carries harsh fines and imprisonment of up to five years under federal law. A Department of Justice statistic has shown that since 2008, more than 20 million votes were cast in Pennsylvania and there were only four convictions of voter fraud.
The new law will be in effect for the November elections.
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