OTR Interviews

Potential legal battle ahead for Pennsylvania's voter ID law

Pa. House passes voter ID bill, setting stage for potential legal battle


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 15, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Well, you have to show a photo ID to board a plane or use your credit card at a hotel to check in, or even get a library card. So how about voting? Should you have to show a picture ID? Now, there's outrage in some states about voter ID pics, and Pennsylvania's the latest vote to pass a voter ID Law. Civil rights organizations are vowing to fight it. So what are the identification laws, voter suppression or fraud prevention?

Pennsylvania state representative Daryl Metcalfe joins us. Good evening, sir.

STATE REP. DARYL METCALFE, R-PENN.: Good evening, Greta. Good to be with you again.

VAN SUSTEREN: Nice to have you. OK, so you sponsored this bill. You want this bill. So tell me, why -- you know, voter suppression or is this voter protection?

METCALFE: Definitely voter protection. I think every American citizen deserves to have their vote protected from the forces of corruption, from individuals who would to undermine their vote, to undercut their vote, to cancel it out with fraudulently cast votes, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, if I were a Pennsylvania resident and I didn't have a picture ID, how could I get one, and how much would it cost?

METCALFE: If you're a Pennsylvania resident and you don't have one of the many photo IDs that we've provided for in the legislation that can be used, such as a driver's license or a federally issued photo ID or from one of our institutions of higher education, from a senior center living facility, from one of the municipalities that issue employee IDs, then we would provide free of charge from the state of Pennsylvania, from the taxpayers of Pennsylvania, an ID for those who need one to vote.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, there's a little bit of a catch, though. It's nice -- I mean, I understand you say free of charge, but it's not quite so free of charge because I have to get my birth certificate or something in order to get this free of charge thing. So how much do I have to pay to get my birth certificate?

METCALFE: Well, your birth certificate -- hopefully -- hopefully, you have a birth certificate.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, if I don't? What if I don't have one? I mean, I got nothing. I mean, assume I have nothing and I'm starting for scratch. How much does it cost to get a birth certificate in Pennsylvania?

METCALFE: I'm not sure how much a birth certificate costs off the top of my head. I -- I have my birth certificate.

VAN SUSTEREN: I know. It's $10.

METCALFE: Most people I know have one.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'll tell you, I do know. I knew it's $10. I didn't mean to do a trick question to you. So, I mean, it's, like -- my point is that every -- it's not -- it's not totally free.

Is Pennsylvania -- for the benefit of those who can't pay the $10, is Pennsylvania willing to waive that $10 fee or somehow help that out? Because it seems that what the biggest gripe about this, about these voter IDs, is that people can't afford it or they can't get to the place to get them.

So I'm trying to at least get rid of the cost part in Pennsylvania. So will Pennsylvania pay for the underlying documents?

METCALFE: Well, Greta, there's a cost to cast a vote. You have to get yourself to the polls. You have to make sure that you can get there during the time that's allotted to get to the polls. Prior going to the polls, you have to go register to vote, which takes time, takes securing the registration form. It takes a stamp to mail it in...

VAN SUSTEREN: What if you're 85 years old?

METCALFE: ... dropping it off...

VAN SUSTEREN: Eighty-five years -- eighty-five years old, and you're a little bit elderly and you're a little bit sick and you don't quite have the mobility? But you don't have a picture ID.

METCALFE: Well, there -- there's going to be opportunities for individuals to get that ID and for anyone who is a senior that's in a senior residential living facility, those facilities will be allowed to issue IDs for their residents.

So we've made wide accommodations. We've modeled our law after the law that was upheld in Indiana by the U.S. Supreme Court, in which that 6- to-3 decision decided that it wasn't overly burdensome to require that citizens have an ID.

It's just common sense legislation ensure that we protect the integrity of the vote. For every vote that's cast legally, that vote should be counted and it shouldn't be undermined by any fraudulently cast vote. And that's our goal is to ensure that each legally cast vote of every citizen is counted.

As a veteran, I want to ensure every citizen that wants to vote is able to vote and that their vote is not canceled out by the forces of corruption, as we've seen taking place throughout the history of Pennsylvania, with overturned elections, prosecutions -- prosecution of a Pennsylvania congressman back in 1998 in the Philadelphia area.

We have forces of corruption at work in our elections here in Pennsylvania and across the country. Voter ID will help us to put an end to some of that.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, and Governor Corbett signed it as soon as it was voted on and passed. However, this only applies to the general election. Those who are going to vote in the primary in Pennsylvania, I think it's on the 24th of April, they do not have to produce -- so there's -- produce the photo ID. So you're giving a little breathing room on this one, right?

METCALFE: It's a soft rollout. We're going to require that the election workers ask for ID during the primary. That's going to help with the educational process of informing voters that they will need ID in the future, photo ID when they go to vote. And after -- once we get to this November election and every election thereafter, you will be required to show photo ID, as you have to in 15 other states, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: How about notice? You going to put billboards up and tell people that, you know, you got to go out and get your photo ID? You got plenty of time between now and November so as to eliminate the people who say, I just didn't know it?

METCALFE: I know -- I know our Department of State, the secretary, spoke yesterday at the signing, and they have a plan in place to do mailings to every voting household in Pennsylvania to get the information out throughout our county election bureaus to the voters' households that they're going to need ID at the polls.

So there's going to be quite an educational process undertaken to ensure that voters in Pennsylvania know that when they go to vote, they're going to need photo ID. And ultimately, for the good of the citizens of Pennsylvania, that every law-abiding citizen that casts a legal vote, their vote will be protected from the forces of corruption that have been able to undercut that vote in the past through fraudulently cast votes, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have the provisional ballot in Pennsylvania so that if I show up and I forget my photo ID, I can cast a ballot and it's put in the provisional category?

METCALFE: We do have a provisional ballot. That is -- that's a good point. If somebody shows up in November and they don't have their ID on them, they don't have time to go home and get that ID, they will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot.

And then within a time period afterwards, six days afterwards, they would need to follow up with their ID either by faxing that or e-mailing it or delivering it to their county election bureau so that they can prove that that was the individual that actually cast that provisional ballot, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Sir, thank you for joining us. We'll be watching. You got a big primary...

METCALFE: Thank you.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... coming up in April. So we'll be watching. Thank you, sir.

METCALFE: Thank you for the opportunity. Have a great night.

VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you.