The ACLU vs. Daryl Metcalfe

By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor

A bill requiring Pennsylvania voters to show photo ID is one step closer to becoming law.

State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe’s Pennsylvania Voter Identification Protection Act, HB 934, passed the House State Government Committee and will advance to the House floor for consideration. The civil rights advocates at the PA chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) were quick to criticize the measure, saying it would lead to disenfranchisement.

“Passage of House Bill 934 is essential to preserving the sacred freedom of voting from the ever-present forces of corruption seeking to override the will of the people,” said Metcalfe (R-Butler).  “Currently in Pennsylvania it is impossible to board a commercial airplane, cash a paycheck, operate a motor vehicle or even purchase season passes to a neighborhood swimming pool or amusement park without displaying a valid photo ID.   Guaranteeing the integrity of our state’s election process in which all registered voters can be fully confident that only eligible voters have the privilege of casting a vote, that every vote counts equally and, most importantly, not be canceled out by fraudulent votes deserves no less than equal protection under the law.”

ACLU says that a significant portion of U.S. citizens, 11 percent, do not have a government-issued photo ID, and that the law would create a barrier around the voting booth.

“According to research, 11 percent of U.S. citizens do not have government-issued photo ID,” said Andy Hoover, legislative director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania.  “Those without ID are disproportionately the elderly, African-Americans, and the working poor.

“Voter ID laws create barriers to the ballot box that, intended or not, remind us of our country’s sad history of denying the vote .”

Ironically, both Metcalfe and the PA ACLU phrased their key arguments in language likely to appeal to one another. Metcalfe directly responded to worries about disenfranchisement.

“Information provided by the testifiers [during committee hearings] also made it clear that enacting stronger voter fraud protection legislation, such as Metcalfe’s Pennsylvania Voter Identification Protection Act, does not disenfranchise, suppress or otherwise adversely impact voter participation,” read Metcalfe’s press release.  “In fact, in Indiana and Georgia, where showing valid photo ID at the polls is now law, voter turnout has dramatically increased.”

The PA ACLU, meanwhile, critiqued to bill on fiscal grounds.

“Laws to require ID for voting have passed or have been considered in numerous states, and those states have found that these new laws would significantly increase their spending on elections.  North Carolina, for example, estimated that a voter ID law would cost the state $18-$25 million over three years in new spending.  The commonwealth would accrue costs for free ID cards, poll worker training, and public education efforts around the new law,” the PA ACLU wrote in its press release.

“At a time when the legislature and the governor are arguing over every dime, there’s no justification for passing this expensive bill,” Hoover said.  “With no proof of a problem of voter impersonation, this bill is the equivalent of throwing away public money.”

PoliticsPA is following up with Metcalfe’s office regarding the ACLU’s criticism that there has been no evidence of voter fraud in Pennsylvania.

May 9th, 2011 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg | 14 Comments

14 thoughts on “The ACLU vs. Daryl Metcalfe”

  1. Greg K. says:

    The Wise Latina is actually pretty dumb if she thinks voting is a privilege and not a right.

  2. Nicole says:

    this bill is ridiculous. another way for republicans to bock unwanted voters; not to mention expensive. PA doesn’t have the money to spend on this. there are more important things to worry about….like funding for education, so that the next generation is educated, and will be to get a job so that they can afford an ID for stupid laws like this.

  3. Liberty76 says:

    @Stan Shapiro: What a stupid, typically exaggerated leftist thing to write.

  4. The Wise Latina on the Right says:

    I need to have a valid government issued photo i.d. to obtain a library card, to open a bank account, to register as an outpatient at the local hospital, to board the AMTRAK, to board an airplane and to rent out a stroller at the local mall…so what’s the problem with requiring a valid photo i.d. for the privilege of VOTING? VOTING is a privilege of citizenship…and is meant only for eligible citizens. Why does the ACLU want to protect those non-citizens who want to commit voter fraud and disenfranchise American citizens?

  5. Dan Sauder says:


    Nice post!

  6. Marge Adelsberger says:


  7. Adam Swope says:

    Seniors who no longer drive have no need for a state-issued ID. They will now be forced to pay for one, as well as pay for transportation to get it. This amounts to a Poll Tax, and anyone who believes in Democracy should be sick to their stomach about this proposal.

    Furthermore, there is absolutely no evidence that there are all these ineligible voters casting ballots in PA. In order for that to be true, someone would have to organize all these people and give them each the name of a differnet voter who is registered at a particular precinct, and also know that their particular voter will not show up themselves. If multiple people show up claiming to be the same person in the book, the whole thing would be blown. I suppose they could have forged registrations ahead of time, but that would require fake Social Security numbers or Driver’s License numbers. As someone who is involved with the Democratic Party, we are not organized well enough to orchestrate such a scheme. This is a solution in search of a problem.

    Also, this won’t just impact Democrats. When they passed this absurd requirement in Indiana a few years back, a whole convent full of nuns showed up to vote and were turned away!

  8. D.R. Smith says:

    Those who oppose voter id are registering their consent of voter fraud. Non citizens are voting in elections across the country. A recent Colorado study revealed that the US Senate race there was likely decided by such voters who overwhemingly vote for Democrats. Democrats who in turn vote for social benefits for illegals in exchange for their political support. The arguement that id disenfranchises voters is pure smoke. It is quid pro quo.

  9. Kathleen says:

    If the ACLU enjoined with those who opposed illegal immigration there would be less of a need to require voter ID. I think the ACLU protests too much. I find it very suspicious that something as simple as producing ID is so vehemently opposed by a radical, left-leaning group whose moniker is the antithesis of what this organization truly represents.

    Instead of spending money to oppose Rep Metcalfe’s legislation I would suggest the ACLU use those funds to purchase a proper form of ID for the 11% they claim do not currently possess it.

  10. Kelly says:

    We can barely get voters to the polls as it is! Voting is a right. Often the poor can not afford a state ID or driver’s license. Requiring one for voting is nothing but a barrier to the poor. If anyone says that it is not, are you willing to fund their transportation to PennDOT and the cost of the ID or driver’s license? If not, then this is unconstitutional. Voting is a right.

  11. Glennis says:

    I firmly believe we DO need to show identification before voting. It’s hard enough to keep elections honest. Anyone can obtain an ID; if they really care enough, they will make the effort.

  12. Stan Shapiro says:

    It won’t be long until we’re back to restricting voting to white male property holders. Or maybe we should just cut to the chase. Only Republicans should be allowed to vote.

  13. Voting is really important so I feel that proper identification should be used.

  14. John A. Quayle says:

    You go, Daryl! Stick to your guns!

Comments are closed.