Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday vetoed a GOP-backed voter ID bill, telling reporters, ''We believe democracy is important'' and ''we want people to be able to vote.''
The Voting Rights Protection Act (HB 1300) was approved last week by the Republican-led General Assembly. It included a signature verification requirement and a reduction in the number of drop boxes in some counties.
''This bill is ultimately not about improving access to voting or election security but about restricting the freedom to vote,'' Wolf, a Democrat, said in a memo detailing his rejection.
''If adopted, it would threaten to disrupt election administration, undermine faith in government and invite costly, time-consuming and destabilizing litigation.''
Senate Republican leaders issued a joint statement that said Wolf ''opted to defend the national Democrats’ party line and kowtow to special interests by crying foul to voter suppression in the media rather than rolling up his shirt sleeves and coming to the table for the people of Pennsylvania.
''The people of our Commonwealth have made it clear that they want an election system they can believe in,'' they began, citing statewide polling showing 74% of citizens voicing their support for voter ID.
Rep. Seth Grove, R-York County, a sponsor of the bill, said Wolf had ''done a tremendous disservice to the voters and county election officials by vetoing HB 1300 after never engaging in negotiations with the General Assembly.''
''Further, his line item veto of the election audit appropriation shows he cannot be trusted and no honor. The budget was a negotiated product and [Wolf] knew what was in it. Gov. Wolf has discredited his legacy and tarnished his name forever.''
The bill would have required individuals to show a permissible form of ID to vote, including a PennDOT-issued driver’s license or non-photo ID; a free durable, scannable voter registration identification card; or a free Department of State ID. A voter could also sign an affidavit affirming under penalty of law that they are who they say they are and are eligible to vote when they show up at the polls.
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