On Thursday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments about the state’s strict new photo ID law, which is allegedly intended to prevent voter fraud. A voter must present a government-issued or other approved photo ID at a polling place to vote or can file a provisional ballot, which must be validated later by a submission of a photo ID or proof that the voter is indigent. The state has offered no evidence of voter identity fraud to justify this law. There is no legitimate government interest that justifies the burden the law imposes on voters. If the court does not block the law, it will cause irreparable harm. In Philadelphia, for instance, almost one-fifth of the registered voters may not have an acceptable form of identification to vote on Election Day. Statewide, almost one-tenth may not. When he signed the law in March, Gov. Tom Corbett claimed that it “sets a simple and clear standard to protect the integrity of our elections.” But, at a meeting of the Republican State Committee in June, the House majority leader, Mike Turzai, boasted that it would “allow Governor Romney to win the State of Pennsylvania.”
A state trial judge, Robert Simpson, last month rejected a motion by voters and civic groups to prevent the law from going into effect. They argued that the ID requirement would strip away the fundamental right to vote, particularly for disadvantaged groups. Judge Simpson, however, said he was obliged to follow a 2008 United States Supreme Court case, which upheld an Indiana voter ID law. But, in that case, the court was applying the United States Constitution to a less stringent Indiana law. In this case, the Pennsylvania law is far more burdensome on voters and the State Constitution is arguably even more protective of voting rights. In fact, this case is more similar to ones in Missouri and Wisconsin where state courts, applying state constitutions, struck down photo ID laws.
Full Article: Pennsylvania’s Bad Election Law – NYTimes.com.