Stop Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law
September 25, 2012 9:22 am
Last week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court sent a case seeking to block the state’s controversial voter ID law back to Commonwealth Court, where Judge Robert Simpson initially ruled that the law should go into effect as planned. The state supreme court recommended Simpson issue a preliminary injunction blocking the law if the new regulations, requiring voters to show photo ID to guard against in-person voter fraud (which almost never occurs), proves unduly burdensome to registered voters.
Today, ColorOfChange and the SEIU released a study making the strong case that the voter ID law is just that.
As anyone familiar with trips the to the DMV can attest, dealing with photo ID centers can be an onerous task. The DMV bureaucracy, coupled with the fact that the proposed law disproportionately affects minorities, older, low-income and infirm voters, guarantees the hardship the Supreme Court has urged Simpson to block. The 4-2 ruling stated:
If the Commonwealth Court is not still convinced…that there will be no voter disenfranchisement arising out of the Commonwealth’s implementation of a voter identification requirement…that court is obliged to enter a preliminary injunction.
The SEIU and ColorOfChange surveyed 75 registered voters attempting to obtain the photo ID necessary for their voices to be heard in November. The results of the poll are predictably disheartening:
- Elderly and disabled voters having to return to the PennDOT multiple times after long waits—four hours or more—and then being told to come back
- Sick, elderly and disabled voters foregoing food or medications because of lack of timely or available restroom facilities
- Elderly, disabled an poor voters being misdirected to different locations or lines for “voter ID” by PennDOT officials
- Lower-income voters being asked to pay a fee for voter ID when the law stipulates that the ID should be provided at no charge
- PennDOT officials admitting that, while they had training, the law is confusing as everything keeps changing
- PennDOT offices were observed not regularly offering voter registration services to license applicants, as required under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993
The administration of a fee is essentially a “poll tax” — the exact practice that US Attorney General Eric Holder railed against at the NAACP’s Annual Convention earlier this summer.
Meanwhile, certain country governments, fearing disenfranchisement should the law be on the books in November, are beginning to exploit a loophole which allows voters to use college and senior care photo identification to meet the requirement.
Republicans have attempted to install voter ID laws in 30 states, suggesting a coordinated attempt at gerrymandering. If Simpson heeds the higher court’s instructions, they will have failed in Pennsylvania.