Sunday, September 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

A very bad law imposed on Pennsylvania by very bad people

A very bad law imposed on Pennsylvania by very bad people

I'm a little late to the party here -- July 4 week has a way of doing that -- but there was a great story (and by great I mean well-done journalism, not that the actual news is great) last week by my friend and former Daily News colleague Bob Warner. It showed that -- surprise, surprise -- the number of legitimate voters who might have trouble casting ballots in November is a lot higher than advocates for the new Voter ID law claimed it would be:

More than 758,000 registered voters in Pennsylvania do not have photo identification cards from the state Transportation Department, putting their voting rights at risk in the November election, according to data released Tuesday by state election officials.

The figures - representing 9.2 percent of the state's 8.2 million voters - are significantly higher than prior estimates by the Corbett administration. Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele has repeatedly said that 99 percent of Pennsylvania's voters already had the photo ID they will need at the polls in November.

The new numbers, based on a comparison of voter registration rolls with PennDot ID databases, shows the potential problem is much bigger, particularly in Philadelphia, where 186,830 registered voters - 18 percent of the city's total registration - do not have PennDot ID.

Now maybe you understand just why a top Republican said the law would help Mitt Romney win Pennsylvania, since the voters who are being potentially disenfranchise tend more often to be Democratic, especially the very young and the very poor as well as the very old, There's a legal challenge that's wending its way through the state court system, with its initial hearing slated for later this month. Now you may remember the recent case where the chief justice of the Supreme Court say it's not the job of justices to strike down laws because they don't like the policy.

But this law approved by Pennsylvania's elected representatives is different. It's not even addressing policy (especially since actual cases of voter fraud are virtually non-existent) but a blatant attempt to rig elections by depriving voters of their rights. If you don't like "Obamacare," you can vote out the lawmakers who supported it; but it you don't like Harrisburg taking away your vote, then voting isn't the recourse. It's our justice system, and hopefully they'll strike down this bad, bad law before real harm is done.

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Will Bunch
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