Friday, December 19, 2014

Fighting back against voter-ID rules

Bravo for the voters scattered around Philadelphia who noted the test run of new photo-identification rules by engaging in what might be called “one man, one protest” tactics.

Fighting back against voter-ID rules

Bravo for the voters scattered around Philadelphia who noted the test run of new photo-identification rules by engaging in what might be called “one man, one protest” tactics.

Or one woman, as in the case of the 80-something voter who proudly informed election workers at her Upper Roxborough polling place Tuesday that she left her ID at home on purpose.

Those voters who refused to produce identification were standing up against the state’s unprecedented requirement that citizens must provide government-issued identification before their votes can be counted.

Look for that spirit of defiance to spread to other Pennsylvania voters in November, when the identity checks become mandatory amid the crush at the polls in a busy presidential election.

Pa. voters, how was your experience with the test run of the new voter-ID rules?
Government-issued ID wasn't mandatory to vote in Pa. Tuesday, but it will be on Nov. 6th.
Wasn’t even asked for ID, but had my driver’s license
First time I had heard about the new rules
ID was requested, and I showed it
Refused to show ID as a protest

While state officials declared the primary a good trial for the as-yet advisory rules, the experience with regular voters in a low-turnout election hardly predicts the fall. To be sure, Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele would have encountered plenty of voters without a driver’s license had she visited polling places in North Philadelphia, rather than the car-dependent Northeast.

Republican legislative leaders and Gov. Corbett have promoted the voter-ID law as a tool to thwart fraud, but there’s no evidence of fraud at a scale that would warrant such a draconian response.

The actual impact — and likely driving force behind the GOP’s national push for such laws — will be to disenfranchise Democratic-leaning minority, elderly, and first-time voters in what can only be described as a cynical bid to rig elections.

While a state House bill by city lawmakers would repeal the rules, the better hope is that rights advocates are able to scuttle voter ID with a legal challenge before the polls open on Nov. 6.

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