Saturday, August 25, 2012

Left Side of the Aisle #70 - Part 3

Update on: Pennsylvania's voter ID law

I told you last week about the case in Pennsylvania challenging the photo ID law in that state. This is the case where Pennsylvania admitted even before the hearing began that the whole premise of the law was bogus because there was no evidence there had been in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania and no reason to think there would be if the law was not enacted.

I said that a decision on the motion for an injunction against the law was expected soon. It was soon: It came out the afternoon of the day I recorded that.

Shockingly, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson denied the request for an injunction on the grounds that meeting the requirements of the ID law was not "overly burdensome" for voters. Requiring a photo ID in order to vote, Simpson wrote,
is a reasonable, nondiscriminatory, non-severe burden when viewed in the broader context of the widespread use of photo ID in daily life.
In other words, he's one of those people who can't - or simply doesn't want to - get it through their head that not everybody has a photo ID and not everybody commonly gets on a plane or checks into a hotel or even drives - especially in cities.

What's more, he said - and this really struck me - that opponents of the law failed to establish “that disenfranchisement was immediate or inevitable” and - get this now - the law "does not expressly disenfranchise or burden any qualified elector or group of electors.”

In other words the law does not specifically say "this is intended to make it harder for poor people to vote." It does not specifically say "we don't want elderly people voting." And so because it doesn't "expressly disenfranchise" anyone, there is no problem with it.

In fact, here's something else about this: Simpson noted that the law already allows for absentee ballots and suggested some of the plaintiffs in the case could actually get an absentee ballot.

On the same day he cleared the path for this law to go into effect, the state government, the Tom Corbett administration, abandoned plans to make it easier for people to get absentee ballots. But, no, there is no intent to impact voting rights here. None at all.


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