New Voter ID Law Passed in PA

Written by:  Katelyn McKenzie

Pennsylvania recently passed a law requiring specific photo identification in order to vote.  People without the requisite form of ID may still vote “provisionally,” but must return within six days with the proper form of identification in order to have their vote count.

Gov. Tom Corbett contends that this law is necessary to prevent widespread voter fraud. Before signing the bill, Corbett said, “This is a law of prevention. It is to prevent voter fraud. And I believe it needs to be prevented.”  This law will undoubtedly deter people from voting, but will it actually deter voter fraud? Since 2004, there have been 20 million votes cast in PA, and only four prosecuted fraud cases. None of these cases involved a voter pretending to be someone else.

Critics of this law contend that instead of deterring voter fraud, the law will suppress the votes of the elderly, disabled, minorities, and the poor, as these groups make up the lion’s share of those who do not possess photo IDs.  Representative Thaddeus Kirkland (D., Delaware) said, “This is a Jim Crow voter-suppression bill. . . . I know it, you know it, we all know it. I’m just not afraid to say it.” According to the Washington Post, 11 percent of all voters nationally lack photo IDs, equating to 25 percent of all African Americans in the U.S. Pennsylvania will become one of the toughest states in the nation to vote, and in turn disenfranchise some 700,000 voters, including a large percentage of the African American constituency who vote disproportionately Democratic. Is this law really to deter voter fraud, or is it merely a political maneuver to disenfranchise thousands of African American voters in order manipulate the result in a battleground state?

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