Pennsylvania passed a new voter ID law without an actual reason why they needed it, which led to the meanies at the ACLU suing because they hate partial democracy with largely arbitrary requirements. Today, a Pennsylvania state judge upheld the law.
Commonwealth Judge Robert Simpson said the individuals and civil rights groups challenging the law had not met the heavy burden of proving that it so clearly violated the state constitution that it should not be implemented. He said there was still time for those without proper ID to acquire it.
“Petitioners did not establish . . . that disenfranchisement was immediate or inevitable,” Simpson wrote, adding, “I was convinced that Act 18 will be implemented by Commonwealth agencies in a nonpartisan, evenhanded manner.”
Sure, that sounds likely!
Because Pennsylvania could theoretically provide IDs to all voters by Election Day (HA!), the petitioners could not prove that anyone’s disenfranchisement was inevitable, except maybe 1 to 9% of all Pennsylvania voters.
Simpson was skeptical of the challengers’ estimates. He said he believed that more than 1 percent of the commonwealth’s more than 8 million voters lacked the required ID, but less than the 9 percent figure that opponents of the law submitted.
Who do we have to thank for this glorious decision? The Supreme Court, who in 2008 said that states can pretty much do whatever they want in terms of requiring voter ID, because of voter fraud. Which Pennsylvania didn’t try to prove. So that’s a fun thing about law.
While the challenge was brought under the state constitution, Simpson’s opinion was heavily influenced by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2008 decision that seemed to give states the green light to require voters to present photo IDs. In the court’s lead opinion, Justice John Paul Stevens, now retired, said that such a law in Indiana was a reasonable reaction to the threat of voter fraud, “amply justified by the valid interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process.”
It remains to be seen how much credit this now-valid voter ID law gets for stopping a problem that is “infinitesimal” and that Pennsylvania refused to argue the existence of, presumably because most voter fraud seems to be perpetrated by Republican officials. It’s good that they can stop those Massachusetts menaces, though. And the Arizona Republicans who cast their dead girlfriends’ votes.
Can you get more than 100% credit for stopping a thing that doesn’t really exist except for elected Republicans? We will try that with Ronald Reagan’s ghost and report back.