Rep. Jeff Wheeland (R-Lycoming) has introduced House Bill 1579, a voter ID law for Pennsylvania. It’s an excellent idea and long overdue. With online voter registration and at least one local legislator promoting the idea of same day registration, this is a simple and common sense requirement that all residents of the state should support.
Here is Rep. Wheeland’s summary of the bill:
The premise behind voter ID laws is to ensure that individuals are not misrepresenting themselves when voting and, thus, potentially negating the votes of others. Voter ID laws can also serve to increase public confidence in the election process.
In light of challenges to photo ID laws in other states and a Commonwealth Court ruling that nullified Pennsylvania’s 2012 voter ID law, I am proposing a bill that applies the voter ID requirement to each and every election and includes both photo and non-photo options on the list of acceptable forms of ID.
Under my proposal, the forms of ID that will be acceptable are the same as the options that are currently available to first-time voters in PA. They include the following forms of photo and non-photo ID:
- Driver’s license or PennDOT non-driver ID card
- Photo or non-photo ID card issued by other state agency
- Photo or non-photo ID card issued by the U.S. government
- Student ID with photo
- Employee ID with photo
- Armed Forces of the U.S. ID card
- Firearm permit
- Current utility bill
- Current bank statement
- Government check
If a voter is unable to present a valid photo ID, he or she will be required to present two forms of non-photo ID from among those listed above. I believe that this approach strikes a balance between the goal of protecting the integrity of each vote cast and the goal of ensuring that eligible voters possess or can obtain necessary valid ID.
Resistance to voter ID laws is often based on party affiliation, not concern for the voters or the integrity of the process. Voter ID laws make sense.
We should encourage every Pennsylvania legislator to get behind this bill.