WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, Jan. 6, Pennsylvania Senate Republicans introduced Senate Bill 1, a bill proposing an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution that would require all voters to prove their identity before voting. The proposed amendment passed the Pennsylvania Legislature in an identical form during the 2021-2022 session. If approved again during the current 2023-2024 session, the amendment will go to the voters for approval.
The amendment would require every voter in Pennsylvania to prove their identity before voting. In-person voters would be required to present a valid ID before receiving their ballot, while voters voting by mail would have to include proof of ID with their ballot, such as a photocopy of their ID. Under the amendment, a valid ID is defined as an unexpired government ID, unless the Legislature chooses to pass a law allowing other forms of ID. Currently, voters in Pennsylvania do not need to present an ID to vote in person or include proof of ID with their mail-in ballots, although they do have to provide an ID number such as a Pennsylvania ID number or social security number when applying for a mail-in ballot.
The proposed amendment follows Ohio’s enactment of a strict photo ID law last week. While not as strict as the recently enacted Ohio bill, which would require voters to present IDs with a photo, this Pennsylvania amendment follows a common trend among Republican state lawmakers in imposing identification requirements to vote that can reduce turnout, especially for minority voters.