Recently there have been several Letters to the Editor of the Town and Country that have suggested that Voter ID is not necessary, and each letter has suggested that I, as your state Senator, should not have voted for this law.
In a day and age when we each are required to provide picture IDs to do many things such as: to cash a check, visit a school building, get a library card, buy cigarettes or beer, board a plane, and, in some instances, board an inter-city train or bus, purchase a senior discount service such as a SEPTA rail pass, and on and on, the notion that we should also prove we are who we are when we vote is not an unusual request. The right to vote is the most sacred right we have as Americans and I, for one, believe that right must be protected.
These recent letters each suggested there is no problem with voter fraud in PA. Well, on July 18, 2012, KYW News Radio covered a report by Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt where he is quoted as saying there are seven types of voting issues including: “People voting twice, voting by non-citizens who are not eligible to vote, to people voting who are not registered to vote, to people voting in parties other than their own.”
The article continued that Schmidt also noted instances of voting by people in the wrong party’s primary, voting by people in the wrong district, and divisions having more votes than voters. Schmidt estimates the number of such issues citywide at between 200 and 1,000.
And lest we so easily forget, in 2010 there was suspicion of voter fraud with absentee ballots in Bucks County, where several thousand ballots were forwarded to a PO Box that was not under control of the Bucks Voter Registration office.
One of the recent letters also suggested the cost of millions is too much, and it is. That’s why the estimated cost of implementation, as explained in the fiscal note on the bill we passed, was not to exceed $1 million. But at what price do we each put our freedoms and our rights?
Surely, each one of us can cite some assumed inconvenience with voter ID, yet the primary this year went off without any significant hitch, and most everyone I witnessed at the polls, during my 13 hours of visiting polls, came in with their IDs ready to show.
Voter ID is blind. It does not discriminate against race, religion, age, or political party.
I fervently support our Constitution and our government and believe just as strongly that every right, and most especially the right to vote, must be protected for all of us.
Guest editorial submitted by Senator Bob Mensch, 24th District.