STATE COLLEGE — After his proposal and endorsement of a resolution to oppose the states law requiring photo identification at the polls and a public hearing on the issue, Councilman Peter Morris opposed the document Monday night.
The resolution passed 5-2, with Ron Filippelli also opposing.
Morris first proposed the resolution a month ago, calling for a repeal of the law that requires all voters to present acceptable photo ID, including an expiration date, in order to vote, starting Nov. 6.
Council voted to take public comment on the issue, though it wasnt required, and 17 residents supported the move. No one opposed.
However, during Monday nights discussion, an approved amendment to change some of the resolutions language caused Morris to turn his back on his own proposal.
Council President Don Hahn offered two amendments. The first replaced two clauses in the resolution with more lengthy language, including points made in the Aug. 20 public comment opposing the issue, explaining problems with the law, and noting the rare incidence of fraud.
I dont have any serious objection, Morris said. I think, to some extent, its unnecessary.
Hahn said he was impressed with the citizen comments and wanted to acknowledge the points made.
That amendment passed unanimously. Hahns second proposed amendment was approved 4-3, with Morris, Filippelli and Sarah Klinetob opposing.
In that language, Hahn added to the clause stating Borough Councils opposition to the voter ID law that it calls for its immediate repeal or suspension until the state can be sure residents have been able to obtain ID at no cost.
The amendment says maybe were opposed to such laws, but maybe we arent, Morris countered. Theyre OK if people can get the picture ID for free and if the state can arrange things so there is more time.
Morris emphasized that he thinks the voter ID laws in place around the country serve to suppress the vote and are anti-democratic.
Hahn agreed the law is a bad one, and said the resolution would still reflect that. Nonetheless, Morris opposed it.
Id like to apologize to the people who showed up for the public hearing, he said. I believe they deserve a straightforward, up-and-down vote on a straightforward resolution and they're sure as hell not getting that.
Jessica VanderKolk can be reached at 235- 3910. Follow her on Twitter@jVanReporter.