Democrats are pouncing on Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai's (R-Allegheny County) statement that Pennsylvania's new voter identification law will allow Mitt Romney to win the state in November's presidential election. Turzai made the statement over the weekend while he was listing legislative accomplishments to the crowd at a state Republican Party gathering in Hershey.
Democratic state Rep. Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny County) countered by saying the statement finally makes it clear why the voter ID law was passed.
"This is outrageous, but it confirms why the Republican governor and Republican legislature rammed this bill through into law," said Frankel. "This new law could deny tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians their constitutional right to vote, just for partisan purposes. We need to make voting easier, not harder. This is a matter of basic civil rights."
Turzai spokesman Steve Miskin responded by saying the law protects the integrity of elections and nothing more. He said if anyone says otherwise, they are the ones who have an agenda, not Turzai. He said under the legislation the "graveyards of Philadelphia will no longer vote."
No Democrats voted for the law that Gov. Tom Corbett signed in March. It's one of the nation's toughest and is being challenged in court as unconstitutional.
Miskin said Turzai was simply pointing out that for the first time in a long time the Republican presidential candidate will be "on an even keel and competing on a level playing field with the Democratic candidate." Miskin notes that Turzai said "will allow," not "will ensure."
"It is political," said Frankel. "You look across the country, it's a cookie cutter approach. Only in states where Republicans control both the house and senate legislative chambers and the governor's office do you see a voter ID bill coming to the plate."
Frankel said the statement is a "rare moment of political candor" that makes it clear the Republicans are tying to "steal the election."