The Pennsylvania Senate on June 23 passed a bill that would amend the state constitution to require that voters present identification each time they cast a ballot.
Currently, state voters are only required to present identification the first time they vote at a polling station. The measure would require some form of verification every time a ballot is cast, including when voting by mail. It also proposes amending the voting age in the Pennsylvania Constitution from 21 to 18, making it consistent with the U.S. Constitution.
If both houses of the legislature approve a proposed amendment, or if it is adopted by a state constitutional convention, the measure is put on the ballot in a general election. If a majority of voters then approve, the state constitution is amended.
State Sen. Steve Santarsiero, a Democrat, said that amending the state constitution shouldn’t be seen as a solution “every time we may disagree on a particular issue of policy.”
State Sen. Judy Ward, a Republican, cited recent polling that showed strong support for greater voter ID requirements in Pennsylvania.
“This is something that the people of Pennsylvania are begging for,” Ward said.
“There is very little evidence of systemic voter fraud in Pennsylvania,” Sen. Sharif Street, a Democrat, said. “We should all be working to try and get as many people to participate in the electoral process as possible.”
Just days earlier, the Pennsylvania state House approved House Bill 1300, which would include a requirement that voters present identification, among other measures relating to polls, audits, and procedures.
In their support of the bill, House Republicans said it’s necessary to restore what they described as integrity to the election process in the commonwealth. Other lawmakers said their constituents had pushed them to vote on the bill.