Turzai's voter ID remark draws criticism

House GOP leader says law will enable Romney to win Pa.

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HARRISBURG -- A comment from a top Republican state lawmaker that Pennsylvania's new voter identification law will enable his party's presidential candidate to win the state in November drew fire Monday from Democrats.

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Bradford Woods, made the remark Saturday at a meeting of the Republican State Committee in Hershey.

In listing the accomplishments of the state House and Senate GOP for the partisan crowd, Mr. Turzai pointed to the new requirement for all voters to show a photo ID card as one example.

"Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it's done," Mr. Turzai told the gathering of party activists. "First pro-life legislation -- abortion facility regulations -- in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor [Mitt] Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done."

Democratic opponents of the new law posted video of his remark, saying it shows a political motivation behind the bill.

"Pennsylvania already had sufficient safeguards in place to protect against voter impersonation, but apparently they weren't strict enough to suppress legitimate Democratic voters," Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Squirrel Hill, said in a statement.

Steve Miskin, a spokesman for Mr. Turzai, said the legislation was aimed at creating a fairer playing field for all candidates.

"The fact is, fraud does exist," Mr. Miskin said. "The idea is to stop fraud before it happens."

Voters must show photo identification beginning with the November general election. Those without a proper ID card can obtain one at no cost from the state Department of Transportation.

state

Harrisburg Bureau Chief Laura Olson: lolson@post-gazette.com or 717-787-4254. First Published June 26, 2012 12:15 AM


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