Harrisburg, P.a. (WETM) – Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania recently proposed a 149-page bill that would change voting deadlines, adopt new rules for early voting, expand drop-off ballot locations and require IDs for all in-person voters.
The bill, known as the Voting Rights Protection Act, was proposed by State Government Committee Chairman Seth Grove and is facing severe pushback from Democrats, including Gov. Tim Wolf who blasted the proposal as extreme and vowed to shoot it down if it passes in the Senate.
“I will not allow bad actors to put up barriers to voting,” Wolf said. “Not only will I stand against any efforts to roll back our freedoms, I will continue to push for changes to take down barriers that still exist.”
Rep. Clint Owlett, a Republican who represents Pennsylvania’s 68th district, said the bill is designed to make it easier to vote and told 18 News that if voters don’t have an ID, they can still cast their ballot.
“If someone shows up to vote and they don’t have the ID, they can still vote, they just will sign an affidavit that they are who they say they are,” Owlett said.
Owlett said voters could face jail time if they lie about their identification.
The bill would also require voters in Pennsylvania to register to vote 30 days before an election instead of 15.
“This bill is not about improving access to voting or election security, but about trying to control voting for their own political gain, just as their counterparts are doing in states around the country,” Gov. Wolf said.
The governor called on local lawmakers to instead build on the bipartisan achievements of Act 77.”
Gov. Wolf also claimed Republicans are trying to retaliate against voters after “spewing lies and conspiracy theories” about the 2020 election.
“Pennsylvania had a free, fair and secure election in November 2020 with record turnout, in which people embraced mail-in voting and the results have been confirmed by two statewide audits,” Wolf said.
Two additional House votes are still needed before the bill gets to the Senate. If passed in the Senate, it would head to Gov. Wolf’s desk, though he’s unlikely to sign it.