(HARRISBURG) – A plan by state Senator Judy Ward (R-30) that allows voters to decide if the Pennsylvania Constitution should be amended to require identification each time a voter casts a ballot was approved today by the Pennsylvania Senate.
“I have a responsibility to ensure that voters trust the election process,” Senator Ward said. “Everyone who voted by mail-in or absentee ballot in the last election had to supply proof of identification in order to receive their ballot. This isn’t any additional burden. Asking voters to decide if requiring identification every time voters go to the ballot box will build on that and restore that trust. I hear from constituents who want to know why they need identification to buy cold medicine, buy a cell phone, get married or adopt a pet but not to choose their next Senator, township supervisor, judge or President.”
Currently, voters are required to show identification the first time they vote at a polling place. Senate Bill 735, which was approved by a bipartisan vote of 30 to 20, asks voters to decide if some form of verification should be required every time a ballot is cast, including when voting by mail. The bill also proposes amending the voting age in the Pennsylvania Constitution from 21 to 18, making it consistent the U.S. Constitution.
A recent poll by Franklin & Marshall College showed that 74% of Pennsylvanians who responded favored requirements that all voters show a photo ID, compared with 25% opposed. Nationally, that number climbs to 80% in support of some sort of identification to vote and 18% opposed, according to a Monmouth University poll.
“I was elected to serve as the voice of my friends and neighbors in Harrisburg,” Senator Ward said. “With the Governor’s refusal to even consider having voters provide verification to vote every time, we were left with no choice but to place the issue on the ballot in the form of a Constitutional amendment.”
The Senate passed bill places the issue on the ballot as a proposed constitutional amendment so voters can decide. Unlike a piece of legislation, constitutional amendments do not need the governor’s approval.
The language must be passed in two consecutive legislative sessions by both the Senate and the House of Representatives before it can be placed on the ballot. The earliest this proposed amendment could reach voters for consideration is May 2023.
Forms of photo identification currently approved by the PA Department of State include:
- Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT ID card
- ID issued by any Commonwealth agency
- ID issued by the U.S. Government
- S. passport
- S. Armed Forces ID
- Student ID
- Employee ID
Voters without a photo ID, currently, can use a non-photo identification that includes name and address such as:
- Confirmation issued by the county voter registration office
- Non-photo ID issued by the Commonwealth
- Non-photo ID issued by the U.S. Government
- Firearm permit
- Current utility bill
- Current bank statement
- Current paycheck
- Government check
CONTACT: Cheryl Schriner