"I think it is a surreptitious attempt to suppress the Democratic vote, using tax dollars," Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware, told colleagues during debate yesterday. "It is wrong, it is insidious."
It passed the state Senate last week.
Democrats attempted to amend the bill in various ways yesterday, including trying to delay it from taking effect until 2013 or allowing Medicare enrollees to present their Medicare ID cards as valid identification. Republicans rejected the attempts, both in committee and on the House floor.
Also opposing the bill is the NAACP, AARP, labor unions, civil-liberties advocates, good-government groups and the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania.
Republicans point to the wide use of photo IDs for things like prescription drugs or boarding airplanes, and say that legitimate voters deserve to have their votes protected from being diluted by fraud, but Republicans are also hard-pressed to find examples of voter fraud.
Democrats argued that getting an ID involves hurdles. For instance, arranging the extra trips will be difficult for some people, they said, while getting a Pennsylvania state ID card requires showing a Social Security card, a birth certificate or certificate of residency, and two proofs of residency, such as a lease agreement, utility bill or a tax record.
Rep. Jennifer Mann, D-Allentown, said yesterday that her constituents seeking birth certificates have been told by state offices that they must wait four to five months.