Pennsylvania Senate Votes for Common Sense Voter ID Legislation that Voters Want

Harrisburg – Realizing that more than 7 in 10 Pennsylvanians support Voter ID, according to a Franklin and Marshall poll, and 62% of Democrats favor Voter ID, according to a Monmouth University poll, Senator Bob Mensch (R-24) joined with a majority of his Senate colleagues and voted in favor of SB 735 which provides for Voter ID through a constitutional amendment.

“It’s clear that Pennsylvania citizens want this commonsense requirement for secure elections,” Mensch said. “We desperately need to settle on procedures that restore faith in our elections and aren’t subject to constant change. Approval of this measure will ultimately put the matter before voters and, if approved, into the state Constitution.”

Currently, voters are required to show identification the first time they vote at a polling place. Senate Bill 735 asks voters to decide if some form of verification should be required every time a ballot is cast, including when voting by mail. The bill also proposes amending the voting age in the Pennsylvania Constitution from 21 to 18, making it consistent the U.S. Constitution.

As far back as 2016, confidence in our voting system has been seriously eroded, including false claims of foreign countries tampering with vote tallies. A disorderly election process for the 2020 general election was followed by a messy 2021 primary election that only magnified the confusion and increased voter distrust.

With Governor Wolf’s refusal to consider legislation that asks voters to provide verification every time they vote, the Senate passed a bill to place the issue on the ballot as a proposed constitutional amendment so voters can decide. Unlike a piece of legislation, constitutional amendments do not need the governor’s approval.

Forms of photo identification currently approved by the PA Department of State include:

  • Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT ID card
  • ID issued by any Commonwealth agency
  • ID issued by the U.S. Government
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. Armed Forces ID
  • Student ID
  • Employee ID

Voters without a photo ID, currently, can use a non-photo identification that includes name and address such as:  

  • Confirmation issued by the county voter registration office
  • Non-photo ID issued by the Commonwealth
  • Non-photo ID issued by the U.S. Government
  • Firearm permit
  • Current utility bill
  • Current bank statement
  • Current paycheck
  • Government check

The language must be passed in two consecutive legislative sessions by both the Senate and the House of Representatives before it can be placed on the ballot. The earliest this proposed amendment could reach voters for consideration is May 2023.

CONTACT: Sarah Rasmussen srasmussen@pasen.gov  (215) 541-2388