The controversy surrounding Voter ID Laws intensified this week, after Pennsylvania’s House majority leader told supporters that the state’s new Voter ID law “ is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
The statement was made on Saturday at the state’s Republican State Committee, while he listed the achievements the GOP-run legislature has made. The line was followed by applause from the crowd.
Now Democrats allege that Mr. Turzai’s comments confirm their suspicions that the law was intended to keep traditional Democratic party voters from the polls. The state’s party spokesman said “Mike Turzai’s admission that Voter ID only serves the partisan interests of his party should be shocking, but unfortunately it isn’t.” This view was shared by Democratic State Senator Daylin Leach, who said, “This was not about stopping any voter fraud. This was part of a national effort by the Republican Party to pass laws disenfranchising large numbers of voters who tend to vote Democratic.”
Mr. Turzai’s spokesman Stephen Miskin, tried to refute claims that Mr. Turzai’s comment support the Democrats’ allegations. Stated Mr. Miskin, “Rep. Turzai was speaking at a partisan, political event. He was simply referencing, for the first time in a long while, the Republican Presidential candidate will be on a more even keel thanks to Voter ID…Anyone looking further into it has their own agenda.”
He cited the case of Joseph Cheeseboro as evidence of the need for the law. In January, upon suspicion that two voters named Joseph Cheeseboro and Joseph Cheeseborough, born on the same date, were the same person, a local official with the state GOP requested the city Board of Elections to conduct an investigation. The Board of Elections found that Cheeseboro’s address did not exist. The GOP has cited this story as an example for justifying the Voter ID Law to reduce voter fraud. Democrats, however, have argued voter fraud is virtually non-existent, and merely a guise for implementing a law that makes it more difficult to vote.
The Pennsylvania Law requires voters to present ID in the form of a driver’s license, a non-driver’s license, Social Security card, or other government issued document verifying proof of residency. The law has come under attack by groups such as the ACLU and NAACP, amidst claims that the requirements are overly burdensome, particularly for elderly citizens.