Voter ID Fight Heads to Commonwealth Court

Civil rights groups are seeking an injunction against the law that requires voters to have photo ID when they go to the polls in November.

Since its passage four months ago, Pennsylvania's has been a controversial topic throughout the state and on the Web. Previous stories about the issue on Patch have featured passionate replies from commenters on both sides.

"I find this to be a form of voter suppression targeting the elderly and disabled," user Franz Perl wrote. "These groups will have the hardest time getting to a DMV center, most do not drive."

Commenter Pete Krenshaw replied, "Bottom line – we need to make sure the integrity of the voting process is preserved regardless of political affiliation. So everyone who wants to vote has until November to obtain an acceptable form of ID. It's time to get it done."

Supporters and detractors of Pennsylvania's Voter ID law finally get their chance to make their arguments later today before Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson. 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will represent 10 Pennsylvania citizens who say that the law deprives them of the right to cast a vote in November's general election, Philly.com reports. The ACLU will bring in witnesses that say they are unable to obtain the necessary photo identifications in time for the election.

In a report released earlier this month, the Pennsylvania State Department announced that , either a driver's license or non-driver's license. Critics argue that those numbers do not properly take into account voters that have other forms of identification.

Under the law, acceptable photo IDs include identification issued by the federal government or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (a driver's license or non-driver's license photo ID), a valid U.S. passport that has not expired, a U.S. military ID, an employee photo ID issued by the federal, state, county or municipal government, photo IDs from an accredited public or private Pennsylvania college or university, or an ID card issued by a state care facility.

Last week, CBS Philly reported that the Pennsylvania State Department has also created a special, free ID card solely for the purpose of voting. Residents must travel to a state licensing facility and provide two proofs of residence, such as a utility bill, their date of birth and social security number. A birth certificate is not required. The information will be verified and photo ID card issued during the same visit, a State Department spokesperson told CBS.

Governor Tom Corbett signed the controversial voter ID bill in March, saying the law aims to prevent fraud at the ballot box. According to Huffington Post, the ACLU has included in its filing documents a stipulation agreement from state officials that there has been no prosecutions or investigations of voter fraud in the past or any direct knowledge of investigations in other states.

Philly.com says the state will argue that the law is not burdensome to the electorate and every effort has been made to ensure legal voters can get the documents they need. Regardless of the outcome of the case, it is extremely likely that it will be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Brian D. Bigelow July 26, 2012 at 06:06 PM
You are dead on Frankie. Allyson Schwartz is the biggest fraud the 13th congressional disctrict has seen since.............Joe ( never stop running for something) Hoefell
Mike Shortall Sr July 26, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Seriously, I doubt Allyson could find any Montgomery County township west of Abington if she tried. I can recall seeing her at exactly ONE Horsham event, and that was tout Fast Eddie's plan for JRB Willow Grove. Since then, nada! She always looks East, but only when she's facing South, if you get my drift. Vote Joe Rooney!! http://crankymanslawn.com/2012/02/06/joe-rooney-for-pennsylvanias-13th-congressional-district/
Hal Dudash July 26, 2012 at 06:46 PM
I believe also that it is suspecious that this is being brought up by a Republican Governor less then four months before an election. On the other hand, just like Afphganistan or any thrid world country, you simply can't have elections until you have a census and a way of determining who you are. I worked in social work in Philly and some of my clients had more then one insurance card in their wallets. On the other hand, how many driver's licences facilities are there in West Philly? If the gov. wants ID's he needs to ensure they are easily gotten to.
Roman Gabriel July 26, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Frankie, Brian & Mike, you guys have it right. Allyson Schwartz career Philadelphia politician, liar and Obamacare architect. If only she had a compass ( or GPS ), then maybe she could find Montgomery County. She is why we need to stop the voter fraud that is running wild in Pa.
Red Neck July 26, 2012 at 08:49 PM
I agree mj. The thing is, I don't think this new ID that the State Dept came up with is nothing more than a "house of mirrors". Without a birth certificate anyone could be anyone. Let's not forget that a man can be elected President of the United States without producing a b.c. until after he/her is elected. Do you want to vote in Nov. then prepare for now and get a legal Pa. I.D.
Betty Smith July 26, 2012 at 09:19 PM
I have no clue what problem you have with Allyson Schwartz. She was State Senator in Montgomery County before she ran for the House. The lines were drawn to include parts of Philadelphia (mostly in the northeast). She lives in Abington, which you may note is in Montgomery County. I think she knows where Montgomery County is.
John Monaghan July 26, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Not true Betty....Allyson Schwartz was a State Senator in Philadelphia. She moved into Jenkintown when she decided to run for Congress. Among other things, she was notably absent in 2010 when other members of Congress were responding to constituent concerns about Obamacare. Also, famously, she came late and left early at a candidate's night in Meadowbrook.
Mike Shortall Sr July 27, 2012 at 12:44 AM
No, Betty, Allyson knows where eastern (i.e. Liberal) Montgomery County is. She hasn't ventured west of Huntington Pike without Rendell or Bob Casey holding her hand or at least telling her what to say. (Well, maybe not Casey telling her. I don't think he can even talk from what very little we hear from him.)
Bill July 27, 2012 at 01:18 AM
If any one is interested FreePAC is Live. http://live.freedomworks.org/
Smedley July 27, 2012 at 02:05 AM
They're all career politicians both Republican and Democrat. In Pa. less than 3% of our representatives ever leave office on their own. The only thing they care about is getting elected the next time around. I agree Allyson Schwartz is worthless but so is Stewart Greenleaf and all of our other so called representatives. Once they're in you can't get rid of them. How about some term limits!
Feodor Tiorlenko July 27, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Dopes here took a wrong turn on the Voter ID issue. The law as passed is voter supression plain and simple. The imbecilic comments by "Hatboro Mike" Shortall and others demonstrates the lack of intelligence and thought on this issue. Were it not for attempts by the GOP to steal the election, this would not be a topic. Can't win an election on merit??? Make up nonsense about "voter fraud". Problem for you is that according to the PA state attorney general's off, "voter fraud has never been investigated nor prosecuted in Pennsylvania." Try to stay on topic. Lacking facts, I know that's tough for you.
Mike Shortall Sr July 27, 2012 at 01:29 PM
imbecilic comment = did not agree with Feodor ... Oh well, at least it's a short step up from your normal commentary! Here's YOUR problem ... The United States Supreme Court upheld Indiana's photo voter ID laws by 6-3 (i.e. BIPARTISAN agreement), and went so far as to state that such requirements are not an unreasonable burden or obstruction to voting. (I'm still trying to figure out what's so dramatically different about the Pennsylvania Constitution that makes this any less a winning argument than it was in the USSC. Maybe you can help me there, Feodor?!?) And here's a FACT you can chew on ... SInce the law became effective in March 2012, only 2800 or so Pennsylvanians, who needed the "reasonable" photo ID, have bothered to obtain them. That's the other very real problem for those counting on high voter turnouts - but only in certain, very specific parts of the state - this November. The people they count on just don't care enough about the RESPONSIBILITY of voting to bother being even reasonably responsible. Voter fraud is real. Examples have been posted of individuals who have voted in the name of others. Maybe it hasn't been prosecuted in PA, but it's happened elsewhere. Failure to prosecute does not equate to "never happened here"!
Brian D. Bigelow July 27, 2012 at 01:35 PM
Hey Feodor, your a typical liberal douchbag. You have very selective reading skills. Because voter fraud has never been prosecuted, doesn't mean it that it doesn't exist. I'm fairly certain "Hatboro Mike" can defend himself with out my help, but your just an idiot. There was just a big story last week in the Daily news about the voter fraud going on in Phila.. The worst case was the polling location that had more votes than registered voters for that location. I would like to know your opinion on the Black Panthers who with clubs in hand were videod intimidating voters in philly in 2008. Eric ( racist) Holder our incompetent Attorney General just looked the other way.Why ? Shouldnt that be investigated ? When your throwing out the word "dopes" as a discription for conerned Americans you have gone to far.
Roman Gabriel July 27, 2012 at 02:12 PM
If you want proof of voter fraud, all you have to do is look at the success of career Philadelphia politician Allyson Schwartz. There cant be that many stupid citizens in the 13th congressional district. Who is she ? And when will she make her first ever appearance in Montgomery County ?
pruckels July 27, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Wow. It's very telling to see which commentors resort to mudslinging, namecalling, and being unable to back up their assertions with citations -- and I won't even go into spelling and grammar. Also, Brian, Holder wasn't AG in 2008.
Brian D. Bigelow July 27, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Very keen observation pruckles. Eric (racist) Holder wasnt AG in 2008, but he was absolutely responsible for the fact that no investigation ever took place. He was way to busy suing the citizens of Arizona for the crime of protecting there own borders.
Joseph Finnick July 27, 2012 at 03:00 PM
The US Supreme Court decision was hardly bipartisan (it was actually along party lines) and even the Supreme Court admitted, though they thought it was constitutional, that voter ID laws are a way to win for the Republicans (due to people not being able to vote). Look only to the PA House Majority leader Turzai who admitted that the voter ID law would allow Romney to win PA. In the end: Have there been cases of voter fraud? Yes. Would these cases have been helped by a voter ID law? No because there are no documented cases of in person voter impersonation fraud (the only type of fraud the voter ID law would stop). Is this a grab by the Republican party to stop people who historically voted Democrat from voting so they can win? I think so.
Michael J. July 27, 2012 at 03:01 PM
I am amazed at all the ruckus about voter ID. I have to give ID to get spray paint at Pep Boys. Show ID for cigarettes. If you don't have ID, how are people getting assistance? If all these people who are complaining, would just get together and HELP those who need ID for what ever reason, It would solve the problem.
Mike Shortall Sr July 27, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Well, technically you're right, Joe. Stevenson was appointed by a Republican, but he votes LIBERAL on just about everything. I'll retract "bipartisan" in favor of "bilateral". Fact is, it was a stronger decision than was the 5-4 squeaker on the ACA. And there are examples of prosecuted individual voter fraud occuring in other states. It's not much of a stretch to coming to the conclusion that it could, would, or already has occurred here, regardless of the lack of prosecution. In my humble opinion, any effort needed to further secure the sanctity of the vote AND - if nothing else - preventing voter fraud in the future sounds damn reasonable to me.
Joseph Finnick July 27, 2012 at 03:41 PM
I respectfully disagree. The amount of cases even throughout the entire US over the last few decades have been so few that you could probably count them on your one hand. This is also taking into account that some of those were just accidents (such as the one claimed by the Minn. group). The risk (5 years in prison and a hefty fine) outweighs the benefit (a single vote more for your candidate/s) which is part of the reason why it doesn't happen. I believe that this is a costly ($11 million- sorry I misstated earlier that it was $12 million) answer searching for a problem. In my opinion the purity of the vote also has to do with the unfettered right to vote and the voter ID law tramples all over that.
pruckels July 27, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Put into proper perspective, the number of people potentially disenfranchized in Philadelphia alone outnumbers the number of actual, proven voter fraud casese by several orders of magnitude. Again, I don't disagree with the need to show ID in order to vote. I do disagree with the spirit behind the law (to unabashedly "deliver" PA to Romney) as well as the timing of it, and I would feel the same way if the Democrats were enacting some legislation that would disenfranchise Republicans. Democracy's cornerstone is free and fair elections, without external influence.
pruckels July 27, 2012 at 03:53 PM
And Pennsylvania is not alone: http://www.salon.com/2012/07/27/fla_republican_we_suppressed_black_votes/
Mallison Schwartz July 27, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Can't we go back to talking about the invisible, incompetent, millionaire, career Phila politician, Obama-care architect, wicked witch of the left, Allyson Schwartz ?
Mike Shortall Sr July 27, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Hard to imagine one using "purity" and "unfettered" in the same sentence when describing what's important about the the vote..
Joseph Finnick July 27, 2012 at 04:47 PM
To each his own, but I do not have a problem with keeping it relatively easy to vote so that each person may vote without unnecessary restrictions and hoops to jump through. We already have such a problem with voter turnout, I do not see any reason to make it worse.
Christine Whalen July 27, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Here's an article for you guy all concerned about voter fraud. this is who is committing it. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2011/06/did-mitt-romney-commit-voter-fraud
Mike Shortall Sr July 27, 2012 at 05:43 PM
That's quite funny. Even an organization as liberal as Mother Jones is could recognize the fact that the author of the article has a gay/anti-Mormon ax to grind, bigger than the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, when it comes to Mitt Romney, and no move has been made by any authority to press Romney on his voting habits. On the other hand, it worth noting that - if Mr. Romney had in fact been voting fraudulently - the type of voter ID requirement to be used in Pennsylvania, which would include his legal address of residency, would have prevented the "fraud"!! Thanks!
Stephen Eickhoff July 27, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Ah yes, the conservative heavyweight Paul Weyrich. I'm sure you can find some other outdated quotes from other dead extremists on top of that. How about David Duke? Or some other figurehead who never held elected office or controlled multinational corporations or shadow orgs like George Soros?
Christine Whalen July 27, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Stephen, he start the Heritage foundation. they have been behind the conservative movement. they have think tanks and all they do is figure ways to win at all costs. they lie, cheat and steal to win.
Smedley July 29, 2012 at 12:52 PM
How about if we start talking about the invisible, incompetent, millionaire, career politician, wicked warlock of the right, Stewart Greenleaf ?


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