STATE COLLEGE — Borough Council asked for public comment on a resolution calling for a repeal of the state’s new voter ID law, and residents responded Monday night, as 17 offered support of the move. No one spoke against it.
“We have issued over 70 voter ID pictures for people who have been registered voters all their lives,” said Julia Hix, a Foxdale Village resident. “Everyone knows who they are and they have to do this.”
Hix said she’s not worried about Foxdale residents, or people who have family who can take them to get an ID, but those who don’t have someone to help them.
Councilman Peter Morris proposed the resolution at the Aug. 6 meeting, calling for a repeal of the law that requires all voters to present acceptable photo identification, including an expiration date, at the polls. Council discussed the issue and voted 4-3 to take public comment during Monday night’s regular meeting, though holding a hearing is not required.
While council approved the resolution Aug. 6, it will vote again on the resolution on Sept. 10, due to confusion on that vote, after numerous amendments.
Members of Ni-Ta-Nee NOW, the local chapter of the National Organization for Women, also spoke in support of the resolution, including Michele Hamilton, also a poll worker in the borough.
“I enjoy creating a safe, nonpartisan environment” where people can express their political views, she said. “Voting is a right of citizenship, one of the few equalizers of all citizens.”
Jim Leous, a State College Area school board member, offered statistics comparing voter ID fraud to diagnoses of leprosy, noting that one is more likely to experience the latter in Pennsylvania.
“I do believe that voters should show ID the first time they vote in a new polling place,” he said. But he added they shouldn’t have to show photo ID with an expiration date every time.
Former county Commissioner Jon Eich said it’s important to note that Pennsylvania already has a voter ID law, showing his voter registration card.
“Perhaps the state Supreme Court will consider delay of the law until next year,” he said, which would offer more time to put the law in place if, on appeal, it is upheld. “Common sense tells us there are better ways to maintain the sanctities of our elections.”
Council did not discuss the resolution, or comments made about it, and will do so during the Sept. 10 meeting.
President Don Hahn said he found the comments educational and will be better informed for that discussion.
Jessica VanderKolk can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @jVanReporter