Democratic Governor Vetoes Voter ID Bill That Would Have Given Residents Free ID Cards


Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed an election reform bill Wednesday that included a voter ID mandate, earlier in-person voting and signature checks for mail-in ballots.

“Just vetoed House Bill 1300. I made it clear I would sign a bill that creates barriers to voting,” the governor tweeted.

“But that’s exactly what this bill does by: Limiting mail ballots, Capping early voting, Cutting voter registration time.”

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Pennsylvania House Bill 1300 would have given counties five days before election day to start canvassing absentee and mail-in ballots and allow early voting to start six days before election day, according to WFMZ-TV.

Democratic critics of the bill said it did not allow enough time for processing votes and expressed concerns about proposed ballot box limitations.

Wolf called the bill “the latest scheme by Republican legislators to suppress your freedom to vote.”

“Pennsylvania had a free and secure election. Period. Yet GOP leaders wasted the last few months spewing lies and chasing the conspiracy theories that drove this deceptive bill,” he tweeted.

“While this bill includes some election improvements that I’ve called for, such as pre-canvassing time, it’s riddled with voting barriers.”

In his letter to the state House announcing his veto, Wolf said the bill “is ultimately not about improving access to voting or election security, but about restricting the freedom to vote.”

“If adopted, it would threaten to disrupt election administration, undermine faith in government, and invite costly, time-consuming, and destabilizing litigation,” the governor wrote.

Pennsylvania state Sens. Jake Corman and Kim Ward, both Republican, expressed their disappointment in Wolf’s veto in a joint statement.

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“The people of our Commonwealth have made it clear that they want an election system they can believe in,” the state senators said.

“In fact, election reform ranks among the most serious concerns of Pennsylvanians in statewide polling, including the 74 percent of citizens who recently voiced their support for voter ID, which is why the General Assembly addressed this important matter before the end of June.”

The Voter Right Protection Act would provide every qualifying voter a voter ID free of charge.

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“Governor Wolf was asked on several occasions to participate and provide input in the process, but he instead opted to defend the national democrats party line and kowtow to special interests by crying foul to voter suppression in the media rather than rolling up his shirt sleeves and coming to the table for the people of Pennsylvania,” Corman and Ward said.

“Today’s veto by Governor Wolf of the Voter Rights Protection Act is an out-of-touch move that goes against the majority of Pennsylvanians, including members of his own party.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith