On Aug. 23, Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele said in a release that requiring Pennsylvania voters to provide photo identification will protect the right of every legal voter to have their vote carry the weight it should.
Speaking to the 2011 Pennsylvania County Election Officials Conference in Lancaster, Aichele said requiring voters to provide photo identification will make it harder to commit voter fraud in Pennsylvania.
“My duty, and yours, is to protect the integrity of every vote,” said Aichele, Pennsylvania’s chief election official, explaining the Corbett Administration’s support for the photo ID concept. “We must insure every citizen entitled to vote can do so, but also prevent anyone not entitled to this right from diluting legal voters’ ballots, by casting illegal votes.”
Aichele said voter turnout in states such as Georgia, with strict photo ID laws upheld by the courts, has increased across racial, ethnic and socio-economic lines.
She noted arrests in the past three years of workers for the group known as ACORN on federal election fraud charges in Pittsburgh, and the submission of 8,000 fraudulent ACORN-collected voter registration forms in Philadelphia, as evidence voter fraud is an issue in Pennsylvania.
Aichele also pointed to a 1994 state Senate election in Philadelphia as a reason the Corbett Administration supports additional voter safeguards for absentee ballots.
“A federal judge found absentee-ballot fraud so massive in this election, he actually overturned the results, and awarded the seat to the losing candidate,” Aichele said. “Fraud in this case effectively disenfranchised every voter in that district.”
A Department of State analysis shows 99 percent of eligible voters already have an acceptable photo ID, and providing free photo IDs to every other eligible voter, should they all request one, would cost just over $1 million.
“Today, you must show a photo ID to cash a check, board a plane, and check into a hotel,” Aichele said. “Requiring a photo ID for something as important as voting will not burden anyone, but will protect the rights of legal voters in Pennsylvania.”