County Elections Board Chair DeFazio Schedules Special Meeting

PITTSBURGH – Allegheny County Board of Elections Chair John DeFazio today scheduled a special meeting of the Board of Elections for next Tuesday to consider a call by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald for the Board to authorize a legal challenge to Act 18, the Voter ID Law.

“I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am absolutely opposed to the Voter ID law, but this meeting is about something different entirely,” said DeFazio.  “Beyond the unfunded mandates being put on the county for implementation of this law, there are other requirements that are being put on the county that are inappropriate and unlawful.”

The new Voter ID Act requires each elector who appears to vote to first present proof of identification and requires that local election officials verify the proof of identification. The proof of identification must show the name of the person that “substantially conforms” to the name on the elections register and include a photograph (exception for religious reasons) and an expiration date, and it must not be expired. If the voter does not have ID, or if the ID is challenged, the voter may cast a provisional ballot, but must provide the same proof of identification within six days of the election, as well as provide an affidavit that they were the same person who tried to vote by machine.

“I am ashamed that Pennsylvania is one of 15 states that has taken steps to disenfranchise our voters, and I have no doubt that the reasons for it are entirely political, because it is not based on evidence of any fraud that is occurring,” said Fitzgerald. “That being said, the County has the responsibility to implement the provisions of the Voter ID Law, and when we began to review those requirements, it became clear that there is misinformation and changing information, and the County is, essentially, being asked to violate other laws.”

The County Board of Elections rules allow any one member of the Board to call a meeting of the Board. County Executive Fitzgerald called the Chairman of the Board, County Council Member John DeFazio, to make that request.  It has been scheduled for Tuesday, June 19 at 3:00 p.m. in the Allegheny County Courthouse.  The specific room will be announced shortly. The agenda will include a vote to authorize a lawsuit against the Commonwealth based on the unconstitutionality of the Voter ID Act.

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