September 22, 2006

Statement of Larry Frankel, Legislative Director, American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA - The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania is extremely critical of those members of Congress from Pennsylvania who yesterday chose to make it harder for thousands of Pennsylvanians to vote. Yesterday, 12 members of the Pennsylvania delegation voted for H.R. 4844, legislation that requires voters to present a government-issued photo ID in order to vote in federal elections.

This is a cynical ploy by legislators who know that their constituents are very angry. Are elected officials really so afraid of the people who have made clear their dissatisfaction with Congress' performance? Rather than demonstrating to the voters that they can enact legislation that will benefit this country, the majority in Congress decided to potentially disenfranchise thousands of elderly, disabled, poor, and minority voters and prevent them from exercising their most fundamental right.

Congress knows that this measure will disproportionately impact racial and ethnic minority voters, senior citizens, voters with disabilities, and others who do not already have photo identification. Members of Congress should be very ashamed for trying to build barriers to voting.

The members of Congress from Pennsylvania who voted for H.R. 4844 are:

Representative Charles W. Dent
Representative Phil English
Representative Michael G. Fitzpatrick
Representative James W. Gerlach
Representative Melissa A. Hart
Representative Timothy F. Murphy
Representative John E. Peterson
Representative Joseph R. Pitts
Representative Todd Platts
Representative Don Sherwood
Representative Bill Franklin Shuster
Representative Curt Weldon

We urge Senators Specter and Santorum to show more respect for the voters of Pennsylvania. We expect them to fight hard against this misguided attempt to undermine the right to vote.