State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Dems say Turzai’s voter ID comment will help repeal the law

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Jun 26, 2012 7:38 PM

Democrats say a top state Republican’s recent remark on voter ID will bolster their legal argument that the law was politically motivated.  

House and Senate Democrats today criticized House Majority Leader Mike Turzai for telling a Republican audience last weekend that the new voter ID measure “is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”

Democrats have long argued that the law requiring voters to show photo ID was intended to keep traditionally Democratic-leaning voters from going to the polls.  Rep. Eugene DePasquale (D-York) said Turzai’s comment is proof.

“The saying goes that a faux pas, in politics, is when you mistakenly tell the truth,” said DePasquale.

Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) argued Turzai’s comment laid bare the intention of voter ID as a “subterfuge” to discriminate against certain voters.  

“If you have to stop people from voting to win elections, your ideas suck,” Leach said.

Turzai’s spokesman, Steve Miskin, called such claims ludicrous.  He maintains voter ID is about preventing fraud.  Moreover, said Miskin, it’s important to remember Turzai’s exact words: “He was saying… to allow, not to ensure, Mitt Romney to win – on a level playing field,” said Miskin.

But Senate Democrats said they’re preparing a lawsuit to repeal the law, and the House Majority Leader’s own words will help them build their case.  The bulk of their argument, explained Sen. Anthony Williams (D-Philadelphia) will be based on data from elections beginning with the primary in April to show how voter ID is making it more difficult for some to cast their ballots.  Democrats said they’ll file the lawsuit after the August special elections.


Photo: Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) cues a tape of House Majority Leader Mike Turzai speaking about voter ID to the State Republican Committee last Saturday.

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