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Published: Saturday, 7/2/2011

Pa. law would cause more red tape for Amish voters


LANCASTER, Pa. — Amish voters in Pennsylvania would be included in a requirement to show government-issued identification in each election under legislation approved by the state House last week, but they could get an exemption from the requirement for a photo on the ID card.

Lawmakers said that Plain sect voters would be able to get a religious exemption from the provision requiring a photograph on identification cards.

But to do so, they would have to clear more regulatory hurdles than the average voter, because getting such a card involves providing the state Department of Transportation with a statement of their beliefs signed by their church district’s bishop.

“It’s actually harder to get that ID than just a driver’s license,” said Rep. John Lawrence (R., Chester), who wrote the bill’s exemption provisions. “They have to show a state-issued ID just like other voters. They’re not getting a pass.”

Under current law, voters must show ID only the first time they vote, and can use documents without a photo such as voter cards, utility bills, and bank statements.

Under the bill approved last week by the House, voters would be required to show a government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot in any election.

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