HARRISBURG, June 26, 2012 — Senate Democratic lawmakers today said a top state Republican’s recent comments on Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law reveal the Republicans’ intention for the law — disenfranchising voters.
“One of the pillars of this nation is the right to vote, but Representative (Mike) Turzai made it clear that the intent of the voter ID law was to get people not to vote,” said state Sen. Vincent Hughes (D-Phila./Montgomery). “We said from the beginning that this was about voter suppression and not reducing voter fraud.”
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Turzai is a Republican from Allegheny County and the state House’s Majority Leader.
Under the new law, anyone seeking to vote must present a designated form of identification every time they go to vote, starting with this November’s general election.
Senate Democrats opposed the legislation, noting that voter impersonation is nearly nonexistent in Pennsylvania.
Democrats also argued that the legislation was a Republican attempt to disenfranchise voters, and they say their suspicions were confirmed when, while, speaking at a Republican State Committee meeting last weekend Turzai, said that the new voter ID law is going to “allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
“Republicans repeatedly denied that the voter ID law had partisan intent. We knew this wasn’t true, and now the top Republican in the House has admitted true intent of bill — enabling Mitt Romney to win Pennsylvania. His statement is the smoking gun,” said state Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery). “We should repeal the voter ID law and stop disenfranchising voters.”
Senate Democrats said the Corbett administration should consult with members of the legislature and advocates to ensure that voters’ rights are not infringed upon in the upcoming general election.
The administration should also openly show how the state is spending the $3.8 million in state funds allocated for educating the public on obtaining proper ID, the lawmakers said.
“We’re concerned about how that money is supposed to be used,” said Hughes, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “We should be making every effort to ensure that all voters — no matter their political affiliation — can exercise their fundamental right to vote.”