Pennsylvania became the latest state to require voters to show identification at the polls after Gov. Tom Corbett signed legislation March 14 that sets a new requirement for voters at the polls in November.
The vote passed the Republican-controlled state House 104-88 and was immediately signed by Corbett, making the state the 16th in the nation to require voters to show photo ID before voting. The measure will not take effect in the upcoming primary election, but will be enforced during the general.
“The IDs will be asked for in the primary, but not mandatory,” Corbett told CBS News in Philadelphia. “Those who forget an ID will be reminded to bring one to the general election. In the primary at the local polling locations, voters will be provided a handout explaining what forms of ID are acceptable.”
Meanwhile, Democrats and several civil rights groups oppose the law and are expected to challenge it in court. Democrats, in particular, think this is being done specifically to hurt their party.
“I think it is a surreptitious attempt to suppress the Democratic vote, using tax dollars,” said state Rep. Greg Vitali (D) to colleagues during a debate Monday according to the Associated Press. “It is wrong, it is insidious.”
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, no voter will be turned away at the polls. If someone shows up without identification, they will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot. That voter would then have six days to present an acceptable form of identification.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is also required to offer a voter ID card for free to anyone, provided they have acceptable certification, such as a birth certificate.