Are Photo IDs Necessary at the Polls?

Republicans say the new law will prevent voter fraud; Democrats say the new law could disenfranchise thousands of registered voters. What do you think?


Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed and Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law a controversial new measure that will require voters to show a photo identification card at polling places beginning with the general election in November.

Many are decrying the new legislation as a threat to disenfranchise as many as 11 percent of eligible voters who do not possess a government photo ID card, many of whom are senior citizens.

"This legislation ignores the tremendous inconvenience it will create for seniors who don't have a driver's license,” said state Rep. Bob Freeman, D-136.

“With limited or no public transportation to suburban PennDOT photo centers, this proposal puts a tremendous barrier in the way of seniors legitimately registered to vote as they seek to cast their ballot."

Among those who oppose the law are the League of Women Voters, AARP and the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, which says that the law will place undue stress on those who supervise elections at the voting booth.

The bill passed the House, primarily along party lines, with Republicans in support and Democrats opposing. In the Bethlehem area, Democratic Reps. , and Freeman all voted against the legislation. Rep. Marcia Hahn, R-138, voted for it.

"This bill is unnecessary and a real threat to disenfranchise voters," said Freeman during the bill's debate in the House chamber. "If you look at the cases of voter fraud, there have only been four voters convicted since 2004. As the Philadelphia Inquirer so aptly put it, this is a 'fix in search of a problem.'”

Republicans who back the legislation say the law is aimed at preventing voter fraud. But, as Freeman points out, there is little to support any claim that voter fraud is rampant in the Commonwealth.

Some Democrats say it is merely a thinly veiled effort to suppress votes from traditional Democratic constituencies – such as the elderly, the disabled, minorities and youth  – in time for the 2012 Presidential election.

What do you think? Vote in our poll and tell us more in the comments.

Mary Anne Looby March 16, 2012 at 11:14 AM
By requiring photo ID at the polls it eliminates voter fraud. How can anyone be opposed to this? I find it difficult to belive that anyone who is allowed to vote does not have some form of photo ID. The state provides them. As for people not being able to get to PA Photo ID centers, that is ridiculous. There is one in center city Allentown, the Lehigh Valley has a bus system, as do most cities. As far as people in ruual areas, if they can get to the polls, they should be able to get a photo ID.
James Halleman March 16, 2012 at 12:23 PM
increased tax rates, increase in fuel costs,prescription medication costs on the rise, increasd prices at the grocery store and people including seniors on a fixed income. People and Seniors having to make life choices with just another bunch of costs to have to choose from. Why not just be able to take a utility bill as proof or some other form of id like an expired one? Perhaps even asking for a provisional ballot. Just vote that is what is the issue here.
Sunday March 16, 2012 at 01:21 PM
If the seniors can get out to vote, why can't they get out to obtain a valid gov. ID? What about the countless times they go to the doctors' office, the hospital, etc?Besides, nowadays, proper ID is required for just about anything and everything you do.
rick March 16, 2012 at 01:34 PM
James you are the appediamy of self-justification. If your vote was being stolen you would feel differently. Nice to see the sheep following DEM talking points. Heck even in Mexico they have VOTER ID, why should we allow votes to be stolen? Under the US constitution you must be a citizen over the age of 18 that has not had their rights revoked. In analysis of the 2008 election in Wisconsin, their not only felons that voted there were people using addresses that don’t exist. A democrat state senator had 18 people registered to her home that is an occupancy permit of 6. So when you talk about not disenfranchising the voter you must be talking about the need for VOTER ID!
Pat H March 16, 2012 at 01:41 PM
why can't the $11 million be spent on outfitted vans that will traverse each county over the next three months taking pictures of all the seniors both elderly and 18 year olds? stops at Senior centers, high schools, vo tech schools and health clinics would be a big help. would let the citizens see government in a positive light.
David Brugger March 16, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Going back as much as the last 5 elections in PA, there is no evidence or prosecution of any voter fraud, attempted or otherwise. What then is the rationale for this legislation other than political.
Robert W Stewart Sr March 16, 2012 at 03:22 PM
I favor photo I.D. but not for the 2012 election. Implementation requires more planning than is possible in the time remaing until November's election.
Sunday March 16, 2012 at 03:36 PM
I totally agree. I, too, am in favor of photo ID - but your logic that implementation requires more planning and that there wouldn't be enough time for it to be in effect for 2012 makes a lot of sense.
rick March 16, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Right lets cheat for one more election! Voter ID was in place for a Wisconsin primary and it worked fine. The dems looked hard trying to find someone who couldn't vote. IF YOU ARE IN FAVOR OF CHEATING YOU MUST LOVE THIS PRESIDENT and his party...
Carmen March 16, 2012 at 04:28 PM
I also believe in showing a photo ID before voting. My mom is a senior citizen-does not possess a driver's license because she never drove a day in her life but yet she has a photo ID issued by Penndot that looks like a driver's license and as I can recall the last time I took her to the hospital for testing they asked her for a photo ID so unless a senior has never been to a hospital I find it very hard to believe that he/she does not have a photo ID-get real democrats this is 2012 not 1812 most people have some form of ID with a picture on it.
Rosemary B March 16, 2012 at 08:36 PM
You need an ID to buy cough medicine. You need an ID to buy spray paint. You need an ID to go to the doctor. You should need an ID to VOTE!
Patricia Donchez March 22, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Photo IDs are a good thing. You need it almost everywhere. Will it make a difference in the voting, I don't think so. But with all the fraud that's going on, it may help.


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