Voter ID law proving costly


House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) told the Republican State Committee that Voter ID will allow Romney to win PA.

— by Pennsylvania State Representative Babette Josephs

The new voter ID law is proving costly for both the Commonwealth and Republicans. First, the Department of State announces it will spend $5 million to ‘educate’ citizens on voter ID and then House Republican Leader Mike Turzai admits that voter ID was enacted to help out Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

We are focused on making sure that we meet our obligations that we’ve talked about for years:

  • Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done.
  • First pro-life legislation — abortion facility regulations — in 22 years, done.
  • Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.

Thousands of people are being forced to greatly inconvenience themselves and waste time their time and money to get the proper identification in order to vote. We warned that all of this would happen. Now it is. How much more proof is needed that voter ID is bad for Pennsylvania?

When the law was being considered by the General Assembly, Republican fiscal analyses estimated that its cost of outreach could easily be absorbed by the $3.8 million in federal Help America Vote Act funds held by the Department of State. However, the department recently announced that it was planning to spend $5 million on robocalls and other public outreach tools.

More after the jump.

I’m not questioning the need for and importance of outreach, but the Commonwealth is planning to spend at least $1.2 million more than what Republicans said was needed. That doesn’t take into account additional outreach that might be necessary or what the state Transportation Department is spending to provide free IDs. The Democrats said that some $11 million would have to be spent year in and year out, and it seems we were right. But this is an enormous leap into fiscal irresponsibility by the Corbett administration and the Republican majority in general.

In the face of important people needs like a job or quality education for their children, clean air and safe drinking water, treatment for behavioral diseases and physical conditions, law enforcement and public safety, not to mention support for the poor, the hungry and the vulnerable, spending this money to fix a political problem that is facing Republicans is unconscionable. It is clear to me that the Corbett administration fears the lawsuit brought by the NAACP, the ACLU and others. They want to prove the allegations are wrong, but Mr. Turzai, their House majority leader, has undercut their efforts with a single sentence. He said publicly what the law’s opponents have been saying all along — that this is just a voter suppression bill and a way to keep the citizens who vote Democratic away from the polls.

I don’t believe the Republican majority will be successful in bamboozling the court or undermining the state constitution. The more people who participate in the election process, the better the outcome. I believe that through the judicial system and the voices of the citizens, democracy will be restored to Pennsylvania and we will see what the citizens really want when all the votes are cast in November and beyond.

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