ACLU-PA Position: Opposes
HB 1596 is a proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution that would make several changes to how elections are administered. Major changes include requiring every voter to present "valid identification" at the polls every time they vote; granting the Auditor General power to audit elections results prior to certification; and changing the position of Secretary of the Commonwealth to an elected (rather than appointed) position.
HB 1596 fails to clearly define which forms of ID qualify as “valid." As a result, voters will be asked to decide whether to amend the PA Constitution to require voter ID before the legislature has even defined the legal requirements for the process.
HB 1596 contributes to the dangerous trend of legislating by constitutional amendment. Many of these changes can—and should be—made by amending the Election Code. In the event that any of the provisions in HB 1596 prove to be impractical, ill-defined, burdensome, and/or in error, the ONLY way to address those issues is by re-amending the constitution—a process that could easily take at least 2-3 years to implement.
Check the bill's status here.