RESOLUTION REGARDING SENATE BILL 824, PRINTER'S NO. 2162 PENNSYLVANIA ELECTION CODE AMENDMENTS

WHEREAS, Senate Bill No. 824, Printer's No. 2162 ("S.B. 824"), proposes various amendments to the Pennsylvania Election Code;

WHEREAS, SB 824 was amended in the last week of June 2002, by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives to add a requirement that Pennsylvania voters produce a voter's identification card or a form of photographic identification at every election;

WHEREAS, younger, elderly, indigent, homeless and disabled voters are less likely to have a valid driver's license issued by the Department of Transportation;

WHEREAS, if S.B. 824 is enacted in its present form, the registration commissions in each of Pennsylvania's 67 counties will be inundated with requests for voter identification cards;

WHEREAS, SB 824 does not require the county registration commissions to send out voter identification cards immediately upon enactment;

WHEREAS, the time between the enactment of SB 824 and the November 5, 2002 election will be only a few weeks, not allowing sufficient time for all voters to receive their cards before election day;

WHEREAS, the voter's identification card does not contain the voter's photograph;

WHEREAS, the only legally permissible ground for not producing a voter's identification card or photographic identification is conflict with religious beliefs;

WHEREAS, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that an act which either expressly or by its necessary operation deprives a qualified elector of his right to vote, is unconstitutional and void. McCafferty v. Guyer, 59 Pa. 109 (1868), Patterson v. Barlow, 59 Pa. 54 (1869); Commonwealth v. Martin, 20 Comwlth Ct. 117 (1897);

WHEREAS, those voters with disabilities or who otherwise lack easy access to transportation will be burdened financially and in other ways for having to obtain voter's identification cards or photographic identification cards issued by the Department of Transportation;

WHEREAS, the requirement of photographic identification is reminiscent of the poll tax, literacy tests and property ownership requirements that have prevented minorities from exercising their right to vote;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association hereby opposes the amendments to SB 824, and any similar legislation, which require the production of photographic identification in order to be able to vote in Pennsylvania;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association hereby authorizes the Chancellor and officers to communicate the positions reflected herein to the Association members, the other county bar associations, Pennsylvania legislators, the press, and other persons as they may deem appropriate.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: September 26, 2002