Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Trial Watched Nationally
The trial challenging Pennsylvania’s voter ID law started Monday. The Inky reports:
The plaintiffs say they are seeking to overturn the law because it will disenfranchise many voters, a disproportionate number of them elderly, disabled, or minorities, while the state says everyone who is eligible can obtain the required photo ID at no cost.
The 2012 law “does not guarantee every voter can obtain ID needed to vote,” lawyer Michael Rubin argued to Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley before a packed courtroom. “It will make it harder to vote, not for one or two people but hundreds of thousands.”
Lawyers challenging the measure have referred to, but not presented, a memo they say will show the Corbett administration was warned by state agencies the law would disenfranchise elderly and disabled voters.
Talk of the memo is just a claim, according to Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, arguing on the governor’s behalf.
“We’ll address the evidence as it comes up. But the directives have been clear from this administration, from the governor, from the secretary of state, and others, again, anyone who’s eligible to vote in Pennsylvania and who needs a photo ID in order to do that can get one and can get one free of charge,” he said Monday.
The law, which has never been enforced, was approved last year with the support of no Democrats and all but three Republicans, and signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett (R). Three groups, the Pennsylvania League of Women Voters, the NAACP and the Homeless Advocacy Project, are challenging the requirement that voters provide photo identification at polling places across the state.While the trial, which is expected to last more than a week, is taking place in Commonwealth Court, it will likely reach the state’s supreme court eventually, and the final ruling could have national implications.