Friday, May 6, 2011

PA House State Government Committee Voting to Deny Voting Rights to People without Photo IDs

The Pennsylvania House State Government Committee Chairman Darryl Metcalfe is expected to hear and vote on HB 934 on Monday morning, May 9, 2011 at 10:00 am. This bill is a dangerous piece of legislation advancing in the state House that will lead to voter suppression if enacted, so it is critical that you take action TODAY!

If enacted, this bill would require every Pennsylvania voter to provide a valid state- or federally-issued photo ID every time he or she goes to the polls:
  1. It will create major problems for citizens who are not drivers and who therefore do not have drivers' licenses - domestic violence victims and survivors, senior citizens, urban-dwellers who use public transit, people of color, young people, people with disabilities, etc.
  2. The PA County Commissioners' Association has testified that they've seen no evidence of a problem of voter impersonation at the polls.
  3. Additionally, based on similar laws implemented in other states, HB 934 will cost PA taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
Your voice needs to be heard NOW!  Please contact the members of the State House Government Committee and tell them to vote NO on this unnecessary, discriminatory, and expensive bill. 

Here are the members of the State House Government Committee and their email addresses:
We are encouraging concerned citizens to email these members of the House State Government Committee to ask all members of the Committee to vote NO.  If you are a constituent of one of these members, please include that information in your letter.

FYI, here is the letter that Pennsylvania NOW sent to the entire State House Government Committee this afternoon upon hearing of the impending vote.  You can create your own email and may use the information in our letter to craft your own.

Letter to Members of the PA State House Government Committee, May 6, 2011

On behalf of the approximately 14,000 dues paying members and contributors to the National Organization for Women in Pennsylvania, I am writing to you today to strongly urge you to vote NO on HB 934 that would mandate individuals bring valid state- or federally-issued photo identification in order to cast a ballot.  If passed, this law would disenfranchise thousands of people otherwise legally eligible to vote from making their democratic choice for their representatives and their opinions known on any ballot initiative. Individuals who would be disenfranchised would include, but would not be limited to:

1.    Domestic violence victims who have fled their homes without any form of identification
2.    People with disabilities who are unable to obtain a photo identification either because they are home bound (but could otherwise do an absentee ballot) or because they do not have the money or means to travel to a state location to obtain a photo identification
3.    People of color who for whatever reason do not have photo identification.  Many live in urban areas, do not own cars, and work near home without a need for transportation.  Thus they would not otherwise need this form of identification.
4.    Senior citizens and individuals living in urban or suburban areas who do not have access to public transportation.  This lack of access could be because they are home bound or because they don’t have the money or means to travel to a state-based photo-processing center  to obtain a photo identification.
5.    People who live in rural areas without any means of transportation-public or private-to obtain a state or federally-issued photo id.
6.    People who at or near the time of election have experienced a disaster (such as a home fire where all personal items have perished or a community disaster such as occurred with Hurricane Katrina or the tornadoes throughout the South last week). These individuals may no longer have any identification and no time available to obtain the photo id in order to vote.

We understand that HBHB 934. Given the current economy, we do not believe lawmakers should be creating a new multi-million dollar program to fix a “problem” that doesn't exist. The County Commissioners' Association has testified that there is no evidence of any problem with fraudulent voting and that they oppose this type of legislation as counties will be stuck with additional administrative expenses.

Please vote no on this unnecessary, discriminatory, and expensive bill in committee.
Please let me know how you intend to vote.

Thank you.

Joanne L. Tosti-Vasey, Ph.D
Pennsylvania NOW, Inc.
P.O. Box 68
Bellefonte, PA 16823-0068
Phone: (814) 280-8571
Fax: (814) 355-3057

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