HARRISBURG, Mar. 7, 2012 – State Sen. Anthony H. Williams issued the following statement after passage of a voter ID bill in the Senate. The vote on HB 934 was 26-23 in favor:
“Today’s passage of a voter ID bill sent a clear message to Pennsylvania’s low-income citizens, minorities, seniors and college-age voters that their voices don’t count. The Senate Democratic Caucus will be filing an Equal Protection lawsuit in response to this bill.
“It took 100 years following ratification of the 15th Amendment in 1870 for all citizens to gain the right to vote and 40 years later, in a matter of hours, the Senate dismantled the guarantees of the U.S. Constitution. This is not what America is about and certainly not what Pennsylvania should be about.
“I come from a proud lineage of parents and grandparents who understood what gaining the right to vote meant for women and minorities who were historically denied that right – and died trying to gain that right.
“For all those who would wrap themselves in the flag and advocate that government should not intrude in our lives, I call them hypocrites if they voted for this bill today. This is a charade for those who claim that this bill would protect voters. If we are truly equals, we all should count.
“The Senate has artificially denied eligible people the franchise based on perceived voter fraud, but no one in the General Assembly could identify the source of the alleged fraud. It’s because it does not exist.
“At a time when the state claims it can’t adequately fund education for our children, we are now going to spend millions of dollars with no return on investment.
“This bill is nothing more than a mechanism for voter suppression, right before a presidential election. It is far from sound policymaking or governance. It is a distraction from our real priorities – fighting for jobs and fairer taxation and an adequately funded education system that will enable our students to compete in a global marketplace. These are things Pennsylvania citizens care about and we have an obligation to be the more conscientious and responsible fiscal stewards of the Commonwealth that the people elected us to be.”
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