The State College Borough Council’s vote on their proposed resolution of the Pennsylvania voter ID law was no short of controversy.
Council president Don Hahn proposed to replace amendments to the Borough’s already existing resolution, citing new concerns.
“We need to support our solicited citizen comments that showed they were opposed to the recently passed voter ID law,” Hahn said about why he is proposing a changed amendment. “There are locally concern citizens and how they relate to the 2013 borough elections.”
Hahn said he was impressed with the citizens’ eloquence of points made at the Aug. 20 meeting.
Council member Peter Morris, who previously asked council to consider the resolution, said that he had no serious objections to Hahn’s amendment, but did have some issues with the voter ID law.
“The point of the voter ID law is suppressing the vote among certain groups, including the violation of suffrage,” Morris said.
Morris also made points about how the voter ID law inhibits certain groups from participating in a democratic practice.
“It is an inconvenience to young people, the old and the disabled. Hundreds of thousands of potential voters across Pennsylvania will not be able to vote in the upcoming November elections if this law is still in place,” Morris said. “The law is non-democratic and disenfranchising.”
A consensus among council members was to have the state extend the time it takes to get a photo ID, past the November elections.
Hahn stressed that his new amendments continue to reflect the resolution’s purpose in calling the state to repeal the law.
Council member Tom Daubert agreed with the new amendments, and said that it should be made clear that there needs to be more time given for people to get photo ID’s before the November election.
A vote was called and the new amendments passed 5-2 in favor of the resolution.
Mayor Elizabeth Goreham was surprised at the outcome of the split vote.
“I’m sorry we are not unanimous, but it reflects our local politics on a larger scale,” Goreham said.
The University Park Undergraduate Association representative to the borough continues to support the resolution.
Other topics addressed at the meeting were the Atherton Street Corridor Improvement Project, updating the sidewalks, streetscape and crosswalks along the 100 block of South Atherton Street.
Representatives from Stahl and Sheaffer Engineering, LLC were present at the meeting to discuss plans and concerns for pedestrian and vehicular safety and street improvements.
Voting for the authorization of the second phase of the project will take place at the Sept. 17 borough council meeting.
Borough Environmental Coordinator Alan Sam presented his informational plan for the Pugh Street Streetscape Plan, where council took no action or vote on the plans.
The council meeting recessed and ended in a closed work session.
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