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Legislation aimed at voter integrity signed into law

Published March 24. 2012 09:01AM

If you cash a paycheck at a store, open a bank account or take a flight, you're required to show valid proof of identification. So it makes sense to do the same when it comes to voting, an earned right for every legal citizen of the United States. I voted in favor of legislation that passed through the General Assembly this week and was signed by the governor, which will require all registered voters to show a valid state- or federal-issued photo identification card prior to casting their ballot.

Although voter fraud cases haven't been recorded in Carbon County, it's a problem that has been seen in heavy doses across the Commonwealth. That's why requiring a photo ID is one key, commonsense way to combat voter fraud. People who cast illegal votes are stealing the rights of citizens because they are using illegal votes to promote their agenda and self-interest with complete disregard for what the electorate wants. When this happens, it cancels out the votes of honest, hardworking voters in Pennsylvania.

For instance, just last month in Philadelphia, the city commissioners removed Joseph Cheeseboro and Joseph Cheeseborough from the voting lists as being fraudulent. Both Cheeseboro and Cheeseborough were born on Dec. 27, 1955. Both Cheeseboro and Cheeseborough voted in the 2007 primary, 2007 general and 2008 primary elections. Coincidently, both phone numbers given on the pair's voter registration forms are wrong numbers and disconnected, and both gave addresses of vacant lots.

If Joseph Cheeseboro and Joseph Cheeseborough can slip through the cracks for this many years, it's clear the current voting system needed to be updated into today's society. Pennsylvania has had statewide elections decided by as few as 28 votes, while some municipal elections here in Carbon County have been determined by only a handful of votes. It's crucial to ensure that every vote must count.

Some people who oppose this legislation have argued that under House Bill 934, some otherwise eligible voters don't have a photo ID or an easy way to get one. However, under this law, the state Department of Transportation will provide free non-driver photo IDs for registered voters who do not own valid identification.

Another common argument of House Bill 934 is that registered voters without proper photo ID will be turned away at the election polls.

That is a ridiculous misconception.

Under House Bill 934, NO voter will be turned away on Election Day because any voter who arrives without identification can vote using a provisional ballot. However, the voter would then have six days to show valid identification to their county election board.

Voters will also be able to cast absentee ballots, under the same rules in the past, by providing the last four digits of their Social Security number or driver's license number, the same information they provided that was already provided when they registered to vote.

As former President Jimmy Carter once said, "Elections are the heart of our democracy." Showing a valid form of identification will ensure that every legal, registered voter's vote counts in Carbon County, as well as the entire state.

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