Based on the timeline O'Neill laid out, it appeared he was talking about the 2002 Republican primary election for the newly created 29th Legislative District. O'Neill, who won that election, said Thursday that he really had been talking about an election in the early 1990s. And it doesn't sound like the clear-cut case of voter fraud that Metcalfe made it out to be.
"I ended up being able to vote," O'Neill said, explaining that election workers called Bucks County officials to clear up the confusion. "Somehow, they figured out it was human error."
O'Neill said that Metcalfe, who represents a district north of Pittsburgh, "shouldn't be hanging his hat on me" to defend voter ID.
In fact, O'Neill said, he voted with some apprehension for the voter-ID bill on the day he spoke from the floor. He wanted it to grow into more-comprehensive legislation that also looked at voter registration and absentee ballots. O'Neill said the legislation should start in 2013 to avoid the perception that it was designed to influence the 2012 presidential election. And he thought it should be less restrictive on what types of identification could be used.
O'Neill said that he had been reluctant to speak about the issue on the floor, but that GOP colleagues "kept hammering on me" after he told them about his trouble voting in one election. He plans to correct the record when the House reconvenes.
On Thursday, the state Supreme Court agreed to a request from the lawyers challenging the voter-ID law for an expedited hearing on the appeal of the Commonwealth Court ruling. The justices will hear arguments Sept. 13 in their courtroom in Philadelphia City Hall.
Contact Chris Brennan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-854-5973. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisBrennanDN.