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ID required for Pa. absentee ballots - abc27 WHTM

ID required for Pa. absentee ballots

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Dan Bruckart is a contractor from York. We caught up with him in Shippensburg. He travels a lot for his job and isn't sure where he'll be on Election Day, so he intends to fill out an absentee ballot.

He just doesn't like the new requirements to do so.

"They're trying to keep people from voting," Bruckart said.

The 'they' in Bruckart's mind are the supporters of the state's controversial voter identification law that was put on hold by a Commonwealth Court judge until after the November 6 election. But the judge didn't freeze new requirements for absentee ballots, so that part of the law will be in effect.

Absentee voters must provide one of the following to cast a ballot: driver's license number, last four digits of Social Security number or a photocopy of an acceptable form of ID.

"I just think this is a conspiracy by the conservative party on people who may not be able to make it to their voting poll on voting day," Bruckart said.

Supporters of the new absentee rule wonder what the fuss is about. Everybody, they say, should have a Social Security number, and they argue that the tougher requirements make a potentially fraud-filled system more legitimate.

"We had a state Senate election in Philadelphia less than 20 years ago that was thrown out by a federal judge because of massive absentee ballot fraud," said Ron Ruman, spokesman for Pennsylvania's Department of State.

He's referring to a 1993 election between Republican William Stinson and Democrat Bruce Marks in North Philadelphia. There were numerous cases of forged absentee ballots.

The judge let the new absentee requirements stand, while stopping the larger photo ID law because that part was challenged in court.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania acknowledges that it didn't challenge, but in a statement ACLU-PA legal director Vic Walczak said, "we believe it may be unconstitutional as applied to people who must vote absentee and do not have either an ID or Social Security number and we know those voters exist."

And then there's voters like Bruckart, who has the proper paperwork but doesn't think he should have to show it.

"My signature's been good since 1976 when I first voted and there's no reason why it shouldn't be acceptable now," he said.

  • Pulse Poll

  • Should you have to provide a copy of a valid photo ID or an ID number on an absentee ballot?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    Of course, it only makes sense.
    78%
    621 votes
    No, that's ridiculous!
    14%
    116 votes
    Does it really matter?
    8%
    68 votes
  • Related Story: ID required for absentee voting
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