A couple weeks back, we told you about a proposal from state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) to require photo ID from voters at the polls. John Micek reports that the bill could come up for a House vote as soon as tomorrow. State Democrats are up in arms:
The bill is a "solution in search of a problem," Rep Babette Josephs of Philadelphia said of the legislation ...
In brief remarks, Rep. Greg Vitali, D-Delaware, said his staff consulted with the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing and had only found four instances of voter misrepresentation in the 2004-2010 election cycles. Roughly 19.5 million ballots were cast in those elections, Vitali said.
We think Josephs is actually too kind to this bill. It's not just a solution in search of a problem, it also threatens to exacerbate two existing problems: Voter turnout, especially among the poor, and money woes. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center estimates that the various cost of implementing this bill, including providing IDs and conducting a voter education campaign, would add up to about $11 million.
Folks in the comments of our last item on this issue argued that an absence of documented cases of voter fraud doesn't mean fraud doesn't exist; maybe offenders weren't caught. That's fair as far as it goes. But here's where it doesn't go: Introducing a costly new requirement that might lead to lower voter turnout. Seems you'd want to at least investigate the problem further before you did that.