PHILADELPHIA – Gov. Ed Rendell says he will veto a bill that would require voters to show identification at the polls because he believes it would disenfranchise some of the state's most vulnerable residents.
"At a time in our nation's history when voter participation is dropping to alarming levels, the government should not be taking action that will turn away bona fide voters from our polls," Rendell said Monday.
He said people such as nursing home residents and poorer voters might not be able to meet the ID requirements.
Under the bill that cleared the Legislature last week, each voter would have to show election workers a form of identification such as a driver's license; U.S. passport; student, employee or government ID; county voter registration card; firearm permit; current utility bill; or current bank statement, pay check or government check.
Current law requires identification only from people voting in a polling place for the first time.
Democrats generally opposed the change, claiming it would lead to countless voter challenges and create long lines that would discourage voting; Republicans argued it would fight voter fraud by ensuring a person could cast only one ballot in an election.
It's unlikely that supporters will be able to muster enough votes to override the veto, said Erik Arneson, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader David J. Brightbill.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about half the states require some sort of identification at the polls. Georgia last month became one of six to request photo ID, and Missouri lawmakers are discussing similar rules.