Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai praised a judge's decision to uphold the state's Voter ID law Wednesday, saying it confirms "the integrity of each and every valid vote."
Turzai, a Republican who represents the 28th House District that includes Pine and Richland townships, has been a leading proponent of the new law.
Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson on Wednesday morning released his decision that parties challenging the Voter ID law were not able to prove it will cause “immediate and irreparable harm” to the electorate.
The law requires all registered voters to show a valid and “acceptable” photo ID before voting.
“It is unfortunate, but there has been a history of voter fraud in Pennsylvania," Turzai said in a statement. “The elections in the Commonwealth will be on a more level playing field thanks to voter ID and other recent election reforms.
"As the court said, the requirements of Act 18 will be implemented in a non-partisan, even-handed manner by Commonwealth agencies, and qualified voters will have their votes counted," Turzai continued.
Opponents of the law charge that it disproportionately targets the elderly as well as the poor and minorities, who typically vote Democrat.
Turzai was criticized by Democrats earlier this summer for a statement he made that connected the Voter ID law to electing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Turzai was listing the accomplishments of the state House and Senate at a meeting of the Republican State Committee in Hershey when he pointed to the new law.
"Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it's done," Mr. Turzai said. "First pro-life legislation—abortion facility regulations—in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor (Mitt) Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done."
Democratic opponents posted video of his remark, saying it showed a political motivation behind the bill. Their opposition to the measure is well documented.
At the time of the Romney comment, Turzai spokesman Steve Miskin said the legislation was aimed at creating a fairer playing field for all candidates, the Post-Gazette reported.
But Turzai's statement Wednesday made no mention of that Romney reference.
“The many election reforms enacted, including voter ID, are aimed to ensure citizens and registered voters have the right to vote and have their vote counted. It’s about one person, one vote, and each instance of fraud dilutes legitimate votes," Turzai said.
A Turzai interview in which he promotes the legislation is posted on YouTube (see video above). Here is a transcript of that video:
This is about making sure that every voting-age citizen of the state of Pennsylvania has an opportunity to cast his or her vote and make sure that it is not being defrauded, that it is not being minimized.
Because if everybody has one person, one vote, then we’re all treated fairly and that’s what democracy is about.
There has been continued evidence that in particular precincts they’re voting over 100 percent of the registered voters and it has been established with consistency that people are still on the Pennsylvania rolls who have either deceased or moved.
We have to make sure that it is one person, one vote.
Everybody who is a citizen of the state of Pennsylvania has the right and the privilege to vote and should be afforded that opportunity to vote.
This is about enfranchisement. But the fact of the matter is that it should be limited to one person, one vote and how do you do it?
Photo ID. It’s so simple.
I need photo ID to cash a check. I need photo ID to go into a store and buy a bottle of wine. I need photo ID to get into my gym. I need a photo ID every time I want to go through airport security. ...
This is a very, very simple concept. And here’s the other thing. Guess what? If you don’t have a photo ID, you can go to PennDOT and get one for free.