opinion | SB 1 is dangerous, tell your local lawmakers to vote no

Last summer I was working for a state representative in my home state of Illinois. While I can’t promise that every MP will be the same as the one I worked for, at least a decent number will likely listen to their constituents.

So, at the end of this column, when I ask you to reach out to your local legislators – listen to me.

The Pennsylvania state legislature has a proposed constitutional amendment that would affect voting rightsSenate bill 1. It passed the Senate on Jan. 11, and if it passes the House of Representatives, Pennsylvania citizens could vote on it as early as May. The most Changes that reach the public are often passed despite the confusing language. They are also often added to elections with notoriously low turnout. It’s about time Pennsylvanians knew what they’re ultimately going to vote on.

If passed, SB 1 would require ID to vote. At first glance, the requirement doesn’t necessarily seem like a bad idea. Pennsylvania voters must bring a valid ID when voting for the first time at a polling station. Valid IDs include photo IDs such as a driver’s license, student ID, and passport, or—more relevant to this discussion—a non-photo ID that contains an individual’s name and address, such as a paycheck or utility bill. The problem isn’t just showing ID, it’s asking for photo ID.

While you may need photo ID to drive, buy a gun, or buy alcohol, there is no law that says every Pennsylvania resident must have photo ID. Requiring photo ID to vote means someone who wants to vote has to go out and get one. While the bill specifically states there will be no cost to a voter seeking ID to vote, it will require time and resources.

For many, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. But there are people who just can’t take time off work, can’t get childcare, or don’t have access to transportation to go to a DMV. SB 1 is more than just a demand for a new ID – it is another tool to systematically disenfranchise already disenfranchised groups from voting and potentially change the outcome of future elections. There is already so many barriers to vote for low-income people. There’s no need for another.

The right to vote belongs to everyone. In such a highly competitive purple state, every single vote counts. No one should have the right to deprive them of their vote, especially not in a way so sneaky as to affect the results of our future elections.

The recent Pennsylvania Senate and gubernatorial elections were heavily contested and closely watched, especially as many people were concerned that their reproductive rights might be taken away. In Pennsylvania, abortion was the number one issue influencing people’s votes, many points higher than inflation.

legislature added a very good constitutional amendment that would extend the statutory limitations on child sexual assault cases to SB 1. Although this change would be an overwhelming plus for Pennsylvania residents, since SB 1 also includes a voter ID requirement, it would be extremely damaging if adopted.

Since SB 1 passed the Pennsylvania Senate a few weeks ago, it’s time to get in touch with you via email or phone local representative of the Pennsylvania house and tell them to vote no at SB 1 due to the requirement for a voter ID. I can’t promise they will be receptive to the opinions of their constituents, but I know some will, especially if enough people contact them.

Livia LaMarca writes primarily about American political discourse and pop culture. Write to her [email protected].