Thursday, October 8, 2015

More Voter ID Fun

The hits just keep coming on the state's new voter ID law: this time it's state badges and a PennDOT price to get more info on non-photo ids.

More Voter ID Fun


(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

BE: Hey, JB, you following the stuff about the state's new voter ID law?

JB: I've heard of it, yeah.

BE: The latest seems to underscore the notion the thing was rammned through back in March without much thought.

JB: You mean because the state listed state employee IDs as one acceptable form for voting only to later realize such IDs don't carry expiration dates, a requirement under the law?

BE: Yep. So now the state Department of General Services is issuing new IDs to any of the 80,000 of so state workers who want to use them to vote, just 91-cents a pop.

JB: Wait, maybe General Services should do ALL the IDs. PennDOT's cost $13.50 a pop.

BE: What's $12 difference a-piece among taxpayers?

JB: Don't forget the mailing costs the state's running up to notify each of the 758,939 voters it says don't have PennDOT photo IDs. That's another $340,000 or so. And if only a-third of mail-targetted apply for PennDOT IDs that's another $3.4 million.

BE: Then there's non-photo IDs for those with religious objections to having their picture taken such as in many Amish and Mennonite communities. Guess with no photo they cost somewhere between 91-cents and $13.50.

JB: I think that one's my favorite. If you claim religious beliefs you have to fill out an 18-question state form that asks things such as what religious practices you observe, how did you come to practice the religion, how many members of your religion are there, how does your religion affect your daily life and so on.

BE: So much for separation of church and state, eh?

JB: And back in April, PennDOT said it had issued 4,000 non-photo IDs for voting, but when I asked last week, I was told the updated number is not available unless I fork over $313 to run a "special report."

BE: Government transparency at a price, eh?

JB: Still, I'm certain once this well-thought out law costs taxpayers even more money to defend it in multiple lawsuits at multiple levels it will do what it's intended to do: help the nation reduce that average of a little less than one case of voter fraud per state over the past decade as documented in a Republican National Lawyers Association study last year.

BE: Praise the Lord. And pass me the state's religious questionnaire.


Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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