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Forum Post: I cant figure this out - but I dont think it is good news

Posted 10 years ago on Sept. 18, 2012, 6:01 p.m. EST by bensdad (8977)
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Pennsylvania Supreme Court returns voter ID case to lower court By Barbara Goldberg

(Reuters) - The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered a lower court on Tuesday to reconsider its decision upholding a new state voter ID law, saying it should be blocked if voters would be shut out this Election Day by hurdles to obtaining ID cards.

The court battle over the law passed last March by the Republican-led legislature in Pennsylvania, considered a key swing state in the upcoming presidential election, is being watched closely on both local and national levels.

The Supreme Court's ruling sends the issue back to Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson, who must reconsider his earlier decision to allow the law to go forward.


He is due to rule by Oct 2.

Supporters of the voter ID law say it is aimed at ensuring that only those legally eligible to vote cast ballots. Critics say it is designed to keep minority voters, who typically vote Democratic, away from the polls.

The law mandates that all voters show either a state driver's license, government employee ID or a state non-driver ID card to vote, including in the November 6 presidential election. Similar legal battles are under way in Texas and South Carolina.

The high court said the race to supply identification to voters in the seven weeks before Election Day has hit a number of snags and threatens to trample citizens' constitutional right to vote.

"We are confronted with an ambitious effort on the part of the General Assembly to bring the new identification procedure into effect within a relatively short timeframe and an implementation process which has by no means been seamless in light of the serious operational constraints faced by the executive branch," the ruling said.

While finding that government officials are "proceeding in good faith," the judges ordered the lower court to reassess the process now underway for obtaining ID cards and to look for unexpected roadblocks that threaten "liberal access" to voter IDs mandated by the law.

If the lower court finds access is inhibited or that voters are being disenfranchised in any other way "arising out of the Commonwealth's implementation of a voter-identification requirement for purposes of the upcoming election, that court is obliged to enter a preliminary injunction," the Supreme Court said.

The high court's 4-2 opinion places a "very, very high burden on the Commonwealth to establish that no one is going to be disenfranchised by this law," said Jennifer Clarke, executive director of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia.

"It is going to be very difficult for the state to make this showing," she said.

Pennsylvania's Department of State, which has argued there is no evidence that the necessary ID cards could not be produced in time, said it would continue to reach out to voters with mailers, television advertisements and calls to educate them on the law.

A spokesman said the department was confident "every registered voter in Pennsylvania who needs an ID for voting will be able to get one for the November election."



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[-] 1 points by SteveKJR1 (8) 10 years ago

There are several states with voter ID laws already on the books and it has been approved by the courts. The deciding factor is if it is easy to get an ID.

Apparently PA is using the same verbage and method for voters to get their ID as the other states have. That's why it has been returned to the lower courts for reconsideration.

So, I guess voter ID will be required.

[-] 2 points by bensdad (8977) 10 years ago

After a bit more info, I'm guessing that the ORIGINAL judge must require that the state prove it will be easy to get the ID -
which means a state that may issue 1,000 of these per month will have to produce 500,000 in the next 50 days.
NOT an easy task to prove

[-] 1 points by SteveKJR1 (8) 10 years ago

From what I understand states that do require ID have it set up so that a person can go to various places throughout their community to get the ID.

If it can be proven by PA that it can be done then it's a done deal.

[-] 0 points by ShubeLMorgan2 (1088) from New York, NY 10 years ago

The right to vote is or should be fundamental as is the right to have one's vote counted. Are Dems ready to fight for it? OWS ain't nless maybe the problem is in Russia..

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 10 years ago

too many OWS can't see any difference between D & R

[-] 1 points by ShubeLMorgan2 (1088) from New York, NY 10 years ago

Or the matter of principle involved in making obstacles for poor and black people to legally participate in elections. Unless of course it's Russia we're talking about.

[-] 0 points by TheRazor (-329) 10 years ago

I have to produce a picture ID to catch bluegill, catfish, and carp, but not for voting?

Makes sense to me.

[-] 2 points by bensdad (8977) 10 years ago

yes you did catch crap
you are an Rs
and please say that out loud