Pennsylvania Voter ID Bill Rubbing Civil Rights Groups the Wrong Way

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According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pennsylvania is getting ready to become one of more than 30 states that will require voters to show a valid photo identification before voting. The Tribune-Review article mentions voter fraud arrests of Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, workers as one of the reasons for the new legislation in the Keystone State. However, at least on civil rights organization, the NAACP, is opposing the new legislation calling it civil rights problem, as reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

What is the Voter ID Bill?

Current state law requires voters to show ID before voting for the first time, as the Tribune Review article points out. The Voter ID Bill would require all voters to show a valid photo identification before voting in all elections, as reported by The Pocono Record. Basically, the Voter ID bill is a solution to any type of voter fraud and is designed to eliminate allegations of unfair balloting.

What types of photo identification would be acceptable under the new law?

The Pocono Record article mentions that state issued identification cards, such as driver's license would be acceptable, but as reported by, university ID cards were recently added to the list of acceptable proof of identity before casting a ballot. It is possible that other forms of ID will be added to the acceptable list prior to passage of the legislation, including a provision to allow faxed or mailed documents after the act of voting.

Does the legislation have a chance of becoming law?

The Tribune-Review reports that the bill passed the state House over the summer, and is now in the hands of the Senate State Government Committee. The Associated Press reports that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett supports the bill, and once the bill moves through the State Appropriations Committee it could receive a floor vote. After that, as the AP report suggests, the governor could sign the bill into law which would take effect prior to the general election in 2012.

Why does the NAACP oppose the legislation?

As the Post-Gazette reports, the NAACP opposes the legislation because it places an unfair regulation on anyone without a photo ID. The report highlights minorities and the elderly as groups that could become disenfranchised by the bill. Of course, supporters of the bill believe it will ensure honest voting and protect voter integrity. Of course, the bill has a long way to go through the state government, but civil rights groups are trying to protect anyone without access to a valid photo identification card.

Jason Gallagher is a long-time Pennsylvania resident. He has experiences in trends and developments in many regions from having lived in many parts of the Keystone State, and currently resides in the Pittsburgh Area.

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