Constitutional Amendment Advocated by Senator Judy Ward, Rep. Wheeland Lets Voters, Not Politics, Decide How to Best Secure Elections

(HARRISBURG) –  With Governor Wolf’s refusal to even consider having voters provide verification to vote, state Senator Judy Ward (R-30) and state Rep. Jeff Wheeland (R-83) are promoting a plan that will allow voters to decide if the Pennsylvania Constitution should be amended to require identification each time a voter casts a ballot.

“Time and again, I hear from constituents who want to know why they need identification to buy cold medicine but not to choose their next Senator, township supervisor, judge or President,” Senator Ward said. “Proposing that voters show verification not just the first time, but every time they vote as a constitutional amendment removes politics from the decision making and allows Pennsylvanians to take the lead in how they want to further secure our election process.”

“The security of our elections is vital to our democracy,” said Rep. Wheeland. “One way we can help maintain that security is by having individuals show identification each time they vote, instead of only showing it their first time at a new polling place. This legislation would put that question to the voters and let them decide if that is a security measure they would like to put in place for future elections.”

Currently, voters are required to show identification the first time they vote at a polling place. Senate Bill 735 and the companion bill, House Bill 1596, asks voters to decide if identification should be required every time a ballot is cast. The language must be passed in two consecutive legislative sessions meaning the earliest the proposed amendment would reach voters for consideration is May 2023.

Unlike a piece of legislation, Constitutional Amendments do not need the Governor’s approval, rather, the bills would go straight to the voters for their input.

“As a fundamental right of all citizens, voting is the anchor of our democracy,” Senator Ward said. “Confidence in our voting system has been seriously eroded. 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. Providing voters with the power to extend the need for identification beyond the first time someone votes at a polling place to every time they vote will go a long way toward restoring confidence in our election process.”

Forms of photo identification currently approved 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

“We are experiencing the most politically charged period in our lifetime where misrepresentations and attention-grabbing social media posts will be part of the rhetoric,” Senator Ward said. “I urge everyone to rise above that and not fall victim to outside influences trying to stir emotion. We have a responsibility to ensure that voters trust the election process and asking voters decide if requiring identification every time they vote will do just that.”

Watch: Senator Ward advocates to for voter verification – clip 1 and

clip 2

CONTACT:   Cheryl Schriner (Ward)

                     Greg Gross (Wheeland)