Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Suppresses Votes and Benefits Republicans

ByClara Ritger

The Pennsylvania GOP has a little PR problem, and it comes from their House Majority Leader getting too comfortable at the Republican State Committee meeting.

On Saturday, State Representative Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, said the voter ID law would "allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania." His comments are available on YouTube here.

Turzai's spokesman, Steve Miskin, told reporters Monday that his comment should be discounted because they were directed to a partisan audience.

"The intent of his comment was that it would protect the integrity of the vote," Miskin said. "Have you ever gone to one of these types of meetings? People say partisan things.”

Democrats at the Pennsylvania State Capitol in Harrisburg held a press conference in response. State Senator Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, told PolicyMic that Turzai's comment is the worst kind of political faux pas.

"I've worked with Mr. Turzai and the risk of him joking about this is very low," Leach said. "That he was tailoring this to a particular audience doesn't pass the laugh test. This law suppresses the vote, and that's the truth."

Leach was joined at the conference by numerous other Pennsylvania Senate Democrats.

Fourteen states, including Pennsylvania, require some form of photo identification before a voter can cast their ballot at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. An additional 16 states require voters to produce ID, but will accept non-photo variations, such as a utility bill or a bank statement with the voter's name and home address.

At a press conference Tuesday, Leach said that Turzai's comments will be used in voter ID litigation.

Pennsylvania will not be the first state to face litigation from voter ID laws. While many states have upheld such measures, Wisconsin's voter ID law was declared unconstitutional by a state judge in March. The state has said that it will appeal the decision.

The United States has already looked to Wisconsin as a variable in the 2012 election. Last month, Governor Scott Walker became the first governor to survive a recall election, winning with 54 to 45 percent margin, according to CBS News.

Mitt Romney called the results a demonstration that voters want sound fiscal policy at both the state and federal level.

"Tonight's results will echo beyond the border of Wisconsin," Romney told CBS.

And with voter ID laws being called into question in many states, including Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, it's almost a guarantee that Turzai's comments will be repeated by Democrats nationwide in their cry for equality and justice at the polls this November.