Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Blog
Opponents of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law were dealt a significant blow Tuesday, as Judge Robert Simpson refused to strike down the legislation. Although he expressed sympathy with those Pennsylvanians who would be burdened by the new voter ID requirements, Simpson ultimately decided that the state’s efforts to address the problems with implementing the law were sufficient to uphold it.
Despite the setback, however, voting rights groups and others opposed to the law filed an appeal with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Thursday morning, and hope to show that the law would cause unconstitutional voter disenfranchisement.
The law, passed in March, requires an acceptable photo ID or military ID to vote in person. An estimate announced in July by the Pennsylvania Department of State shows that nearly 10 percent of the state’s eligible voters - more than 758,000 - lack a standard driver’s license or a non-driver photo ID. Although Pennsylvania officials agreed to help eligible voters who lack a photo ID to obtain one, opponents of the law argue that the state is not adequately prepared to handle the massive number of voters who need an ID.
The Brennan Center for Justice has shown that because of the costs and other logistical burdens associated with obtaining an acceptable ID, students, minorities and economically disadvantaged Americans are severely impacted by voter ID laws. Because many of these groups traditionally vote Democrat, the issue has taken on a strong partisan character. Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai stirred controversy earlier this year when he revealed that the intention behind the law was to help reduce Democratic voter turnout.
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