The PA State Senate voted Wednesday to pass Republican-inspired House Bill 934, which requires all voters (not just first-time voters) to show approved photo ID at the polling place in order to be allowed to vote. This will clearly stop the horrible epidemic of people pretending to be their neighbors and sneaking in to vote for them. Ha! That’ll be a good trick on Porter, someone will come to the polling place, say they’re me and vote Republican! Of course, I’m one of the election inspectors who signs people in to vote (and matches their signature with the one in the log of registered voters) so that might not work too well. But they could pretend to be someone else in Chadds Ford—unless of course we knew the person, or the impostor was the wrong age or had the wrong signature. Impostor voting is the kind of thing that wouldn’t be very secret because it would be immediately apparent when the real person came in to vote. But I’ve never heard anyone describe this—not even the right wingers who rail about “voter fraud” (the issue there is registering voters).
So what’s the deal with what appears to be a solution in search of a problem? Well the “problem” is pretty clear. Who doesn’t have photo ID? I mean, does anybody not have photo ID these days? Well, about 10-15% of the very youngest and the very oldest registered voters do not, and about 25% of the voting poor lack such ID. Except for the elderly, these people skew Democratic. If the Republicans can put up some barriers to them voting, they’ll get an edge. Huge difference? Not really, but when 51%-49% is considered a solid election victory, then a couple percent fewer Democratic votes is well worth gunning for.
Now the argument is that people who don’t have photo ID can go get a non-driver photo ID from the DMV. Of course if you don’t drive, getting to the DMV is your first issue. Then you need (per http://www.dmv.com/pa/pennsylvania/apply-id-card) :
- One form of acceptable identification (birth certificate with raised seal, valid passport, certificate of citizenship or naturalization)
- 2 proofs of residency
- Your social security card
Barrier to voting, anyone?