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The Voter Suppression Bill (House Bill 934) Violates the Constitutional Right of Pennsylvania Voters
This week, the Senate passed the “Voter Suppression” bill with a vote of 26 to 23, with three Republican senators crossing the aisle to vote in the negative for the bill.
While most Republicans will say that requiring a government-issued ID is about protecting the integrity of elections, the sad fact is it’s about disenfranchising people and suppressing voter turnout, plain and simple.
The bill, House Bill 934, would violate the Constitutional right to vote for many eligible voters in Pennsylvania and cost the state approximately $4.3 million. These are funds that Pennsylvania could use to fund more worthy endeavors, like job creation, economic development and human services programs.
- 340,000 Pennsylvania seniors do not have a state-issued photo I.D. In addition, minorities, the disabled and young people will be disproportionately impacted.
The provisions of this bill almost amount to a poll tax, requiring mostly seniors to spend their valuable dollars to obtain a photo ID.
Vulnerable citizens are having their medical assistance taken away, their access to food stamps blocked and now they will have their vote suppressed. It is shameful and unwarranted, especially in light of the need for solutions to much larger issues.
House Bill 934 is a costly solution, looking for a virtually non-existent problem. There just isn’t widespread fraud and there isn’t widespread abuse that would justify this mandate. The facts are:
- In the 2008 election, there were only 4 cases of voter fraud reported out of the 8.73 million registered voters.
- A national study conducted by President George Bush’s Justice Department found only 86 cases of fraud in the United States between 2002 and 2007 out of 300 million votes cast.
Here in Pennsylvania, since 2004 we’ve cast 20 million votes and had 4 convictions for fraud.
- In Ohio, a statewide survey found four instances of ineligible persons voting or attempting to vote in 2002 and 2004, out of over 9 million votes cast - a rate of 0.00004%.
- In Missouri, of the 2.3 million votes cast in 2000, only 6 substantiated instances of ineligible voters were uncovered.
- In Wisconsin, 7 cases of voter fraud were found out of 3 million votes cast during the 2004 election. A fraud rate of 0.0002%.
- Research suggests that voters are 39 times more likely to be struck by lightning than commit voter fraud at the polls.
Voter suppression goes against the Constitutional right to vote. We must not let this bill become law in Pennsylvania. Contact your local legislators and the governor and let them know you are opposed to the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of voters.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
House Bill 934 will be up for final passage in the House on TODAY. I urge you to contact your local legislatorand ask them to vote NO to the “Voter Suppression” bill.
IN THE NEWS
You can find out more specifics about the 2012-13 State Budget and provide your feedback on my website at senatorhughes.com as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@SenatorHughes).
Offices of State
Senator Vincent Hughes