Prepare to check your wallet before you head to the polls.
The state Senate approved a measure this afternoon on a 26-23 vote, which will require voters to show a form of photo identification before casting their ballot.
Presuming the House of Representatives concurs on the measure, which they are expected to do next week, and Gov. Tom Corbett signs it, as he's said he'll do, next month's primary will be a dress rehearsal for poll workers. The bill will go into full effect for the November general election.
The PG's Karen Langley has more on the bill's details here, and listened to the four hours of floor debate and dozens of rejected Democratic amendments offered this afternoon. She now reports that Democrats and civil-rights advocates are preparing a legal challenge to the soon-to-be law.
Meanwhile, Republicans were celebrating what they described as a move to protect the electoral process from potential fraud. Here's a statement from GOP State Committee Chairman Rob Gleason:
“The Pennsylvania Senate took an important step to promote the integrity of our electoral process by passing critical Voter ID legislation. The bottom line is that voter ID is a commonsense reform that strengthens a fundamental pillar of our democracy by ensuring that every single vote that is legally cast, legally counts,” Chairman Gleason said.
“Showing identification has become a part of our daily lives. We show ID to prove that we are who we say we are when we drive a car, board plane, cash a check, purchase medicine, buy a gun or go hunting for our protection. Isn’t the integrity of our elections worth protecting too?
“Protecting our electoral process should be a team sport, but I’m shocked that Democrats continue their attempts at blocking an clear way to give each Pennsylvanian and equal say electing our representatives. Protecting each and every Pennsylvanian’s right to have his or her vote counted once and ensuring that valid votes aren’t canceled out by fraudulent votes is a protection for all voters. Opponents of this legislation would leave the door open to fraud and abuse in elections from President of the United States to local office.”
And for balance, the statement that Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Forest Hills, just released:
“This is a blatant ideologically driven initiative that limits and diminishes the rights of Pennsylvania citizens,” Costa said. “This is another display of failed leadership by the administration and the Republican majority in Harrisburg on issues that matter to Pennsylvanians. Our roads and bridges are in dire need of repair, thousands of people are out of work and without health care, schools are closing and this legislature would rather concentrate on suppressing voting rights.”