County Council Republicans Respond to Allegheny County Officials’ Reaction to Voter ID

PITTSBURGH – The Council’s Republican Caucus has issued the following statement regarding Allegheny County’s response to the newly enacted Pennsylvania voter identification requirement:

Since we live in a nation of laws, it is disheartening that anybody on the local level would allow personal opinions and playbooks from Party operatives to come before the rule of law. The Pennsylvania State Senate, Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Governor are all elected freely by the citizens of Pennsylvania. Together, a reasonable election safeguard against destructive voter fraud was lawfully passed. “It s dangerous precedent when special interests and Party politics come into play regarding elections. We have all taken an oath to obey the laws and constitution and I would ask all elected officials to get serious about working on real issues that affect our collective taxpayers.” stated Councilman Vince Gastgeb R-Bethel Park.

There is nothing outlandish or outrageous concerning having an ID. It’s hard to believe that having something so fundamental and simply following law (that of having an ID to vote) would cause Allegheny County Democratic officials so much angst. “Voter Identification to prevent fraud is a simple process. Allegheny County should be fully prepared to implement this new law. “stated Councilwoman Jan Rea R-McCandless.

The Council republicans disagree with the premise that the County cannot train election officials properly for such a simple task. The Republican membersalso cite ample time for election officials to be trained and ready for the November election. They cite poll data showing a supermajority of our residents supporting something as simple as showing an ID. Furthermore, it is estimated only 1% of the populations may not have an ID. A few years ago, the Help America Vote Act was a much more cumbersome proposition for this county, insofar as it required that we evaluate and purchase entirely new voting machines. “It also was an unfunded mandate to a significant degree, certainly much more so than the voter ID requirement is” stated Councilman Vince Gastgeb.” Councilwoman Heather Heidelbaugh R-At-Large responded, “The ACLU has already filed such a lawsuit which will be tried shortly in Harrisburg. The ACLU has some fine lawyers and they don't need Allegheny County to file another lawsuit over the same issue. Perhaps the individuals promoting this lawsuit could just personally donate to the ACLU to cover the cost of their lawsuit and we can keep precious Allegheny county dollars at home."

The Republican members would like to remind the public that there are many important issues that time and effort should be spent working with. These would include the current assessment situation and the Port Authority operational and budget issues just to name a few. Stated Councilmember Matt Drozd, “Getting involved with fringe groups and Presidential/Washington politics diverts us from focusing on resolving major cash flow shortages that may be coming in future budget years and other key issues of major concern to the constituents of our county.”

The Republican members are in agreement that filing a lawsuit will once again waste Allegheny County taxpayer money in a folly against totally legal, popular and lawful State legislation. They also suggested it is a solution in search of a problem and has no room for proper governance of our citizens.

For additional information, please contact Council Member Gastgeb at 412-350-6545.

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