Voter ID bill questions for Chesco
Looking through my archives, I found the email below, sent a year ago to a Chesco official.
No reply was ever received, but I still think these were good questions then and now unless the whole objectionable Voter ID bill is overturned in court.
(My 2nd point has come to pass: primary turnout was light, and therefore not much voter education about the new requirements took place in the primary election on April 24.)
August 9, 2011
…Thank you for inviting me to email you concerning House Bill 934, which the PA House of Representatives passed in June; presumably in Sept. it will head for the PA Senate.
For your convenience, I attach the bill as passed and also the accompanying fiscal impact statement, which states (perhaps optimistically) that “This legislation would have no adverse impact on county funds.”
Here are my county level questions:
1) It is not hard to foresee confusion and expenses (possibly including overtime salary) on the part of the county, for retraining election officials (some of whom may not appreciate the new requirements), fielding many questions from the public and officials, and processing what would probably be a large number of provisional ballots within 6 days of the election (as required by the bill). I note that the bill and financial note consider voters who currently have no government-issued photo ID but not the many voters (mostly women who have married or divorced) who have ID documents with different names than the name under which they are registered to vote, many of whom might not realize the problem until they appear to vote.
2) Since primary voter turnout tends to be light and excludes Independents (and in a presidential year depends on which party’s primary is contested at the time of the PA primary), in November 2012 the bill could add to the potential for extreme slowdown of the voting process in some precincts, as happened at some locations in November 2008.
3) There will no doubt be appeals and law suits after provisional ballots are denied or election officials are shown to have applied the law wrongly or not at all, and I imagine the defense costs would have to be borne by the county.
So overall, I am wondering whether the Commissioners or ChesCo Voter Services have considered the ramifications of this bill, including the above concerns, and whether they have contacted the state for clarification and further support as needed. Thank you very much for looking into it….
For more views on voter ID, see my July 26 post “Who Are the Voters without “Approved ID”?”