Corbett Signs Voter-id Bill

Posted: March 15, 2012

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania is home to one of the nation's toughest photo-identification laws for voters, less than eight months before the presidential election.

Gov. Corbett signed the bill yesterday, a few hours after the Republican-controlled state House passed it, 104-to-88, largely along partisan lines.

The photo-ID requirement would take effect for November's presidential election in Pennsylvania, traditionally a swing state that is expected to be a battleground again this year.

A court challenge is expected. Democratic lawmakers and the American Civil Liberties Union are pledging to go after the measure once it becomes law. Republicans say that they are confident the bill will withstand the scrutiny, and counties warn that it will unnecessarily lengthen Election Day lines and cause voter confusions.

Republicans say that it will combat voter fraud, but Democrats criticize it as an unconstitutional effort to suppress votes by people who traditionally support their candidates.

Democrats note that applying for supporting paperwork, such as birth certificates and passports, costs money, and that getting them takes months.

The bill also is opposed by AARP, the NAACP, labor unions and good-government groups.

The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania said that systems already are in place to prevent duplicate or erroneous registration.

It warned lawmakers that adding the additional step of requiring poll workers to check photo IDs will lengthen lines at polls without the provision of extra security for ballots.

Pennsylvania law now requires identification from voters the first time they vote in a precinct, and that identification can include a government check or a utility bill.

The bill would require a photo ID, including many government employee photo IDs, student IDs from colleges and universities in Pennsylvania and IDs for people who live in elder-care institutions in the state, as long as they show a name, photo and expiration date that makes them current.

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