Pennsylvania’s Strict Voter ID Law Upheld

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The Rev. Benjamin T. Hailey, president of the Pennsylvania Baptist State Convention, speaks during an NAACP-organized rally on the Capitol steps protesting the state's tough, new voter identification law on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 in Harrisburg, Pa. Democrats say the law is an election year stunt to steal the White House. Republicans say it's necessary to prevent voting fraud. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

An NAACP-organized rally on the Capitol steps protesting the state's tough, new voter identification law on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 in Harrisburg, Pa. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

A Pennsylvania judge upheld the state’s strict new voter ID laws on Wednesday. The decision was a blow to voting rights advocates who expected a slam dunk victory after the state admitted it was not aware of a single incident of in-person voter fraud and the state’s House majority leader made it clear that the law was politically motivated.

In a 70-page order, Judge Robert E. Simpson, a Republican, said opponents failed to show “that disenfranchisement was immediate or inevitable.” Simpson did not rule on the full merits of the case, only on whether or not to grant a temporary injunction.

Civil rights advocates say the law, which could affect as many as 750,000 registered voters who don’t have the required ID, will disproportionately keep poor, elderly, minority and student voters away from the polls.

Opponents plan to appeal the case to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which is currently divided equally with three Democrats and three Republicans (the seventh member, Justice Joan Orie Melvin, a Republican, is currently suspended due to unrelated corruptions charges). A tie would uphold the law.

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  • Carole Miles

    Well, looks like the Repubicans just bought Pennsylvania! Are the decent people there going to fight back. Voter i.d. drive, anyone?

  • Old Boating Guy

    Our government needs to come up with a fair “Federal Election Law” that would apply only to Federal Offices and takes into account the question of an I.D. Of course, if they wanted to they could put into effect a law in less than a week and have it in place before the Nov. election. Lets see which Party wants to disenfranchise voters by not passing a law now.

  • Melanie

    Your title would be more accurate if you called the law the Republican voter suppression law.

  • Anonymous

    What am I missing? Where’s the rub in requesting positive id at the polls? Not sure what constitues “positive” id but it shouldn’t be hard for the overwhelming majority to produce something suitable and for those who can’t, there’s plenty of time between now and the elections to get something suitable.
    Why would anyone feel the need to hide their identity?

  • Michael A

    I guess the new Republican election motto is: “If you can’t win ’em… steal ’em!”
    How unAmerican is this?!?!

  • Sheila M. Sikorski

    We forget that voting is not a privilege; it is a right. Driving and boarding a plane or train are privileges. The government has to prove I’m NOT a citizen (which it cannot), but I do NOT have to prove I am a citizen. That’s the difference between a right and a privilege.

  • JSPuskar

    You’re missing the point. There is not a problem with voters ‘trying to hide their identity,’ there is a problem with keeping eligible voters from exercising their Constitutional right.

  • Chris Boese

    OK, so doesn’t the DOJ have some pre-emptive Voting Rights Act enforcement responsibilities? Or is it only in states with a Civil Rights history of disenfranchising voters? It seems to me the DOJ is authorized to act BEFORE voters are fully disenfranchised. WHERE IS THE DOJ?

  • Eloise Hamann

    Only a state issued ID will do. Nothing from an employer, university, library, etc. is valid. This is not about proving who you are. This is about applying for a new birth certificate, taking public transportation to the right office to get the proper ID as obviously the voters involved are not drivers. The Republican politician who publicly boasted the law will deliver Pennsylvania for Romney is banking on the considerable effort to get the ID will discourage or be next to impossible for many voters. In Ohio, the voting hours are longer for early voting in red districts than blue as engineered by Republicans. And we call America a land of opportunity.

  • Sandra

    If you can get to the polls to vote, you can get to the state office where your *FREE* id will be provided. The only reason folks are in such a snit about this is because it means that dead people, dogs and illegals won’t be able to vote! D’oh.

  • Anonymous

    Eloise, judging from your Facebook page, you’re just another extreme leftwing “political junkie”, at best, or a bought & paid for “political prostitute”, at worst. You twist the facts to serve your own purposes and you tell 1/2 truths to “support” your claims which, in my totally independent view, makes you a liar.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, right now, Eric Holder is being subpoenaed (sp?). If he weren’t so encumbered with trying to keep his job, he could probably perform it. It’s aperfect storm to prevent those who would most benefit from Pres. Obama’s policies from voting for him. This must be the only way Republicans can win. If something isn’t done to challenge this on a national level and prevent this oppression, America loses its validity as a nation for the people and by the people. Kind of reminiscent of Bush/Gore election.

  • Anonymous

    JSPuskar, I think I’m right on point. Do a little more research and I think you’ll find that any eligible voter who really wants to vote will have no problem doing so. Just put the politics aside and look at the facts.

  • Bill

    Not sure about that, Sandra–there are many elderly people who have plenty of “ID” but no birth certificate (think if you were born in a rural town 80 years ago) and so its almost impossible to vote under the new law. I’d be in a snit too if I voted for the last forty years but can’t this November…

  • Bill

    Its not about hiding anything, but if you’re 90 and can’t find your birth certificate but have lots of other “ID” you still can’t vote–its an unreasonable burden.

  • Anonymous

    So, just anybody from anywhere should be able to walk in and vote, huh?
    It’s not just a right or a privilege. It’s an honor and and a duty and an obligation!

  • John Pilecki

    Sandra … there are approx. 1,300 voting precincts in Allegheny County, there are only 4 photo ID location in Allegheny County, where the “free” ID you mentioned can be obtained (you cannot get them at any “state offfice”) … the “dead people” canard you mention was dispelled by the Commonwealth itself when, defending the voter ID law in court, they admitted that not one case of voter fraud could be presented in support of their case … this is clearly a case of voter suppression, but it is not going to work because there is an intense movement to get voter ID’s to the voters who need them … Obama will carry Pa., and more Demos will be registered in Pa. for future elections.

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