|By Rep. Seth Grove (R-York)
Since 2015, first-time voters showing up at a polling place have been required to show identification to vote.
Some of the accepted forms of photo identification include a state-issued driver’s license or PennDOT ID card; a U.S. passport; student, employee or armed forces ID; IDs issued by a Pennsylvania state agency; or U.S. government ID.
Should a voter not have a photo IDs, non-photo identification that includes the voter’s name and address is also acceptable. They include a county-issued voter registration card, non-photo ID issued by the U.S. or state government, a firearm permit, current utility bill or bank statement, or a paycheck or government check.
These lists are quite large and has led to some confusion for voters if they had the correct ID to vote. It is safe to say all voters possess one of the accepted forms of ID and it is the voter registration card.
With that in mind and to curb confusion, the Voting Rights Protection Act would require voters be issued new, enhanced voter registrations cards featuring their picture to ensure the person casting a ballot is in fact the registered voter.
It would put an end to voter fraud, such as a despicable case in Philadelphia in which a woman allegedly cast countless fraudulent ballots in the names of other voters between 2015 and 2019. This case is a form of identity theft. But instead of having just a couple victims in each instance, voter fraud through identity theft leaves thousands of victims in its wake. Requiring IDs be shown at the polls would protect the integrity of elections and protect the identities, and votes, of millions of people.
Data shows a large majority of Pennsylvanians support showing a photo ID at the polls. A poll conducted by F&M College reported that 74% of Pennsylvanians are in favor of an ID requirement when it comes to voting.
Data also shows voters haven’t been disenfranchised by Pennsylvania’s current ID requirement. Since the Voting Rights Protection Act would require all current voters be issued a new voter registration card, and all new voters be issued the card when they register to vote, no voter would be without acceptable ID.
On April 6, the House State Government Committee held a hearing where I asked the Department of State what complaints and lawsuits it received from the current voter identification policy. Their response: “The department is unaware of lawsuits/complaints filed against the department that specifically related to guidance on Voter ID.”
I also asked for how many new voter registrations the department had received from 2015 through 2021. In total there were 2,473,046 new voters. Voter registration forms have an option for designating ethnicity/race as well. For these new voters who reported ethnicity and race here is the data from the Department of State:
Black or African American: 127,804
Hispanic or Latino: 90,390
Native American or Alaskan Native: 3,099
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 1.039
Two or More Races: 24,255
From 2015 to 2021, 2.4 million new voters have been required to show identification when they showed up to vote and 308,567 designated themselves as a minority. During this time these millions of voters never filed one compliant or lawsuit that the voter identification requirement disenfranchised their ability to vote, which means every single new voter was able to provide one of the 16 allowable identifications.
The data does not lie. Voter identification is a commonsense solution to protect the integrity of the vote and close a loophole fraudsters and illegal voters can easily exploit. The data shows explicitly that Pennsylvanians can have a voter identification policy without disenfranchisement.
Representative Seth Grove
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross