Turzai's Comments Renew Debate Over New Voter ID Law
Democrats say his remarks prove political motivation behind the bill. Turzai's spokesman said the legislation was aimed at creating a fairer playing field for all candidates.
Democrats are criticizing a comment from State House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods, about the newly enacted voter identification law.
Sponsored by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, the law requires voters to show photo identification before they vote at the polls. After a dry run in the April primary, it is scheduled to take effect for the Nov. 6 general election.
Speaking at a meeting of the Republican State Committee in Hershey over the weekend, Turzai was listing the accomplishments of the state House and Senate, when he pointed to the new law.
"Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it's done," Turzai said. "First pro-life legislation—abortion facility regulations—in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is going to allow Gov. (Mitt) Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done."
Democratic opponents posted video of his remark, saying it showed a political motivation behind the bill. Their opposition to the measure is well documented.
The two Democrats, Board Chairman John DeFazio and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, voted to sue, while Republican Heather Heidelbaugh voted against the measure.
"This is outrageous, but it confirms why the Republican governor and Republican legislature rammed this bill through into law. Pennsylvania already had sufficient safeguards in place to protect against voter impersonation, but apparently they weren’t strict enough to suppress legitimate Democratic voters. This new law could deny tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians their constitutional right to vote—just for partisan purposes. We need to make voting easier, not harder. This is a matter of basic civil rights," Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill, said in a statement today.
Steve Miskin, a spokesman for Turzai, said the legislation was aimed at creating a fairer playing field for all candidates, the Post-Gazette reported.
"The fact is, fraud does exist," Miskin said. "The idea is to stop fraud before it happens."