With Wolf promising to veto voter ID bills, legislature pushes constitutional amendment

Pennsylvania Politics

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — While lawmakers and the Governor finish up the state budget, there are also election reform measures moving through the capitol including an amendment that lets you decide whether voter ID should be required to cast a ballot.

Senate Bill 735 is a constitutional amendment requiring voters to present ID every time they cast a ballot. Sen. Judy Ward (R-Blair) admits it’s her reaction to Governor Wolf promising to veto a voter ID bill. “We were left with no choice but to place the issue on the ballot in the form of a constitutional amendment,” Ward said.

To Republicans, it’s no big deal and they note Democrats argued for requiring proof of a vaccine to get in places. “But the same members will continue to fight tooth and nail against simply showing a photo ID to cast a vote at the polls. Ask yourself why that is,” Sen. Mike Regan (R-York, Cumberland) said.

Democrats have questions. Like what personal data is being collected in the process and where it’s being stored. “I want to speak to the hinterlands. The government has your information, the government,” Sen. Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia, Delaware) said. “If you are a part of Pennsylvania understand a train wreck is heading toward you today.”

If it passes both chambers, two straight years, it would go to the voters. Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks) calls it lawmaking by constitutional amendment. “When we legislate this way I think we’re really crossing a line that we and our constituents may really come to regret,” Schwank said

“This veiled attempt to suppress the vote is part of a national strategy,” Sen. Vince Hughes (D-Philadelphia, Montgomery) said. Hughes notes there are similar election bills in Republican-controlled legislatures across the country. “Stop the people from voting and we’ve seen this before time and time again in the history of this nation,” Hughes said.

But Ward insists people want it, and polls prove it. “74% of Pennsylvanians who responded, favored requirements that all voters show a photo ID,” Ward said.

In the end, the Republican Senate wanted it too. “The aye’s are 30, the nays are 20,” Sen. President Pro Tempore Corman said at the Rostrum.

The earliest that amendment will be on the ballot for you to decide is May of 2023.

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