Corbett's budget proposal includes partial funding to pay for measure designed to suppress voter rights

Press Release

HARRISBURG, Feb. 7 – State Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Phila., released the following statement on Gov. Tom Corbett's 2012-13 proposed state budget, which was unveiled today:

"Today's budget is another short-sighted effort by Republicans to line the pockets of big business and their other allies and campaign contributors at the expense of the middle class and our most vulnerable," Josephs said.

"Unfortunately, we've come to expect that from Mr. Corbett, and I will fight against his devastating cuts. What is surprising to me is that the governor has proposed only a $1 million allocation to pay for voter identification or as Democrats characterize it 'voter suppression.' This Republican plan, reminiscent of the Jim Crow era which we thought was dead long ago, would require voters to show up-to-date government-issued photo identification at every single election before they can vote.

"All experts who are not aligned with the Republicans agree that this mandate would hit hardest against the poor, members of minority groups, urban dwellers, senior citizens, survivors of crime and domestic violence, and women -- the very citizens who are likely to vote for Democrats.

"I believe that the more people who participate in the election process, the better the outcome," Josephs said. "That is the very essence of democracy and why I am fighting this suppression."

"States who adopt this suppression scheme are required, due to U.S. Supreme Court decisions, to issue free photo identification to voters who may not have any up-to-date documentation and to engage in a thorough citizen education campaign.

"Other Democrats and I estimate that these two required activities will cost the state about $11 million dollars each and every year; the Republicans guessed the price tag would be closer to $4.3 million. Yet the governor's budget only appropriates $1 million to implement the bill should it become law. I find it very curious that the governor would not adequately fund his own proposal.

"Voters should know, however, that right now that the photo ID provision is NOT yet law. Until the bill becomes law, you will only need to sign the register in order to vote as was the case in previous elections. The only people who have to show any kind of ID – and that can range from a driver's license or ID card, passport or military or employee ID, to a current utility bill, bank statement or paycheck with a current name and address – are those who are voting in the precinct or division for the very first time."