Friday, February 12, 2016

Sick of Hearing About Voter ID?

If you're tired of the voter ID issue you'd better tune out over the next several days.

Sick of Hearing About Voter ID?


Those weary of hearing about Pennsylvania's new voter ID law had better think about tuning out over the next several days -- and likely for many, many more to come.

For instead of melting in the summer heat, the issue continues to flame.

Friday's New York Times features a piece written from Philly about problems with the new law, the legal battles that lie ahead and the fact only four other states -- Indiana, Kansas, Tennessee and Georgia -- have laws as strict as ours.

State officials keep revising impact of the law, first by changing the number of those potentially affected and, more recently, by announcing a new card is coming to make things easier because the "easy" path initially planned hasn't proved as easy as promised.

Meanwhile, thousands are expected to rally for two hours at the Capitol on Tuesday afternoon. The "Rally for Justice" is sponsored by the NAACP and is to include speakers from the Legislature, community groups and labor who charge that voter ID disenfranchises poor, elderly and minority citizens least likely to have required photo IDs.

Then on Wednesday, state Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg is scheduled to hear legal arguments against the law, a process almost certain to drag through the summer and end up in the state Supreme Court.

So buckle up, voter ID fans.

What lies ahead is an endless rehash of arguments about whether there's rampant voter fraud or not, whether the law causes chaos come Election Day or not, whether Republican-controlled legislatures are trying to block President Obama's reelection or not, whether U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder is right to refer to such laws as a "poll tax" or not and whether the issue ultimately knocks down turnout in urban areas or fires up the Democratic base and increases the urban vote.

The only thing certain is the issue is creating yet another societal wedge between right and left, haves and have nots, black and white, and isn't going away for some time to come.

(And, yeah, I know, those who don't have photo IDs should stop whining, get off their duffs and comply with the law of the land. Great idea. I'm sure that's what'll happen.)


Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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