Before the case against Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law got its hearing in Commonwealth Court, ID advocates could pretend they were the good guys. This campaign isn’t about voter suppression, they could say with a straight face, this is about putting an end to voter fraud. But over seven days in a Harrisburg courthouse, that plausible deniability was shredded. Yes, it’s possible that Judge Robert Simpson will let the law stand next week, when his ruling is expected. The legislature has a well established authority to regulate elections, and Simpson may not want to meddle with that. And yes, even if voter ID is struck down, there will be an appeal to the state Supreme Court.
But none of that should matter. Whatever the legal basis for the law, the proceedings in Simpson’s court proved conclusively that voter ID – in this form, on this timeline – is a morally indefensible train wreck that’s sure to disenfranchise legitimate voters in this November’s election. The Pennsylvania House and Senate reconvene on Sept. 24. If the courts haven’t already done the job for them, repealing voter ID ought to be the first vote the legislature takes, and the repeal ought to pass overwhelmingly.