From the USA Today:
A judge in the battleground state of Pennsylvania ruled Wednesday that a GOP-backed voter-ID law could be implemented in November despite fierce objections from opponents who say it could disenfranchise thousands of low-income and minority voters.
Judge Robert Simpson, in issuing his 70-page opinion, was unmoved by arguments that the law, which requires voters to show certain types of government-issued identification at the polls, would pose an unreasonable burden on voters.
Simpson commended the plaintiffs’ lawyers for “putting a face” to some who would be affected — lead plaintiff Viviette Applewhite, 93, who marched with Martin Luther King in the civil rights movement — but ultimately upheld the law. “At the end of the day, however, I do not have the luxury of deciding this issue based on my sympathy for the witnesses or my esteem for counsel,” wrote Simpson, a Republican.
“I do have the luxury of deciding this case based on my party affiliation and our belief that this ‘solution to a non-existent problem’ will help swing Pennsylvania to Romney,” he did not also write.
Well, at least we still have the State Supreme Court!
An appeal could face hurdles with the state Supreme Court. The court has six members: three Democrats and three Republicans. A tie vote would uphold Simpson’s ruling.
Oh FFS. Anyone else get the premonition that the Supreme Court of PA is going to vote 3 to 3 on this one?
Honestly I have no idea if party affiliation colored Judge Simpson’s ruling, or if partisanship will affect the State Supreme Courts ruling. But I know how it looks. If you want to avoid the appearance of a partisan law pushed through by Republicans and then upheld by a partisan judiciary, then put implementation of the law on hold until after the November elections. Pennsylvania has already admitted that there is no problem with voter fraud in the state, and state Republicans have already stuck their feet in their mouths making this a partisan issue.
Pennsylvania’s House Majority Leader, Mike Turzai, a Republican, had listed the law in a meeting with Republican activists last month as an accomplishment that would allow Mitt Romney to win the state in November. Opponents of the law point to Turzai’s comment as evidence that the law was motivated by partisan politics.
So if you want to avoid the appearance of a partisan judicial branch and there is no pressing problem with voter fraud, why not put the law on hold? Pushing it through for this election cycle draws its own conclusion. This is an attempt at election theft.
And it isn’t just poor and minority voters that this law will disenfranchise. Here is Benjamin Todd Jealous, the President and CEO of the NAACP writing at the HuffPo:
This month a Pennsylvania judge upheld a strict government voter photo ID requirement that could block nearly 800,000 voters (9 percent of the entire state voting population) from the ballot box on November 6th.
Nationally, strict photo ID laws will have the harshest impact on already marginalized populations. Studies have shown that 25 percent of African-Americans, 16 percent of Hispanics, and 18 percent of individuals over 65 do not even have the documents required to gain the proper photo identification mandated in new voter ID laws.
In Philadelphia alone, over 186,000 registered voters — or 18 percent of people registered in the city — do not have the necessary ID to exercise their right to vote. Coincidentally, Philadelphia’s minority population is the highest in Pennsylvania.
In states like Texas and Pennsylvania, the law takes it a step further, targeting students who are a part of the fastest growing voting bloc. While Texas eliminates student IDs from the list, the PA voter ID law eliminates student IDs without expiration dates. Coincidentally, the majority of Pennsylvania college and university IDs lack an expiration date. In the 14-school PASSHE system alone, which has agreed to issue compliant student IDs to incoming students but only market the option to continuing students, an estimated 120,000 students could be disenfranchised.
(Bolding is mine, as always)
These laws are a Republican attempt to steal elections. If the demographics start to swing against you, you can always counter that by disenfranchising the demo’s most likely to vote against you. Now that it is heading to the State Supreme Court, Pennsylvania is even attempting to push back the hearing date, limiting the time from the upholding of the law to the election, increasing the chances that many voters who are waiting for the ruling to get their ID will simply not have enough time. From Philly.com:
After winning their first round in Commonwealth Court last week, state officials are in no hurry to hear what the state Supreme Court may have to say about Pennsylvania’s new voter-ID law.The state Attorney General’s Office, defending the law against charges that it will disenfranchise thousands of voters, filed papers Tuesday suggesting that the Supreme Court consider the case the week of Oct. 15 – barely three weeks before the Nov. 6 general election.
Opponents say the dispute should be settled as quickly as possible so voters will have a clear idea of what will be required of them when they go to the polls.
Witold “Vic” Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, one of the lawyers fighting voter ID, said the public interest is better served by an earlier decision.
“The later this gets decided, the harder it will be to implement,” Walczak said.
In 50 years, our history textbooks will look back on the return of Jim Crow as a dark era in partisan politics. Voter fraud is not a problem in our nation. Apparently the same can not be said about election theft.