Today, Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell vetoed House Bill 1318. HB 1318, if signed by the governor, would have instituted a burdensome identification requirement, potentially disenfranchising thousands of the state’s poor, elderly, disabled and minority voters.
People For the American Way Deputy Field Director Ruth Martin saluted Gov. Rendell for his veto of this egregious bill and the citizens of Pennsylvania for their activism and standing up for their right to vote. Martin’s statement follows:
“Governor Rendell’s veto of this bill will help strengthen the momentum that is building against unfair voter ID legislation across the country. That momentum was reflected in the activism of Pennsylvanians who vehemently opposed legislation that would undermine the right to vote for thousands of their fellow citizens. By traveling to the state house to lobby their legislators, sending hundreds of e-mails and letters, and making phone calls to their representatives, senators, and to the governor’s office, Pennsylvanians took a stand and made their voices heard.
“We applaud Gov. Rendell for listening to his constituents and for taking a principled stand in favor of the right to vote. Gov. Rendell has affirmed what most Americans regard as common sense – that voters’ access to the ballot should be protected not restricted.
“There is very little evidence of the kind of fraud that is cited as justification for this kind of legislation. And there are positive steps that states can take to lessen the threat of fraud without putting onerous burdens on voters, such as implementing a state-wide voter registration database as mandated by the federal Help America Vote Act. It is our duty to encourage, not discourage, civic participation. The defeat of H.B 1318 is a major victory for Pennsylvanians, and for all Americans who are working to dismantle barriers to the ballot box.”