GET IN LINE AT THE DMV NOW  3:25 pm August 15, 2012

Pennsylvania Judge: Voter ID Law Might Not Disenfranchise Like 700,000 Poor People, So, Upheld!

by Jesse Taylor

what the fresh prince did at homePennsylvania 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.

[Washington Post]

 

Hola wonkerados.

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{ 84 comments }

YouBetcha August 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Big deal. It's not like the right to vote is in the Constitution or something. You liberals are so dumb.

foxpuppet August 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm

He only mentioned the state constitution, so I'm wondering a) what is in the PA constitution about voting & b) does this judge just not care about the federal constitution?

muthalovin August 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Hey, the system works, apparently. So long as you are not a poor. Apparently.

pinkocommi August 15, 2012 at 3:30 pm

"most voter fraud seems to be perpetrated by Republican officials. "

Funny that the same is true for politician fraud.

Boojum August 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm

There are nine votes that count.

IncenseDebate August 15, 2012 at 3:33 pm

And you only need five of those to win.

smokefilledroommate August 15, 2012 at 3:39 pm

So only five votes actually count.

IncenseDebate August 15, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Imagine if this ever actually happened? There'd be major protests. The country would shut down.

AbandonHope_ August 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm

And the people who were responsible for it would be dragged out into the streets and hanged. With votes.

Man, it's a good thing that it's never happened.

Fairtackle August 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm

“amply justified by the valid interest in protecting the integrity and reliability of the electoral process.”
AKA
We had to destroy the integrity and reliability of the electoral process in order to save it.

emmelemm August 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm

You hit that squarely on the head.

Baconzgood August 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Sometimes I hate my state.

UnholyMoses August 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Move to Missouri, where you can always hate it!

FNMA August 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm

Hey, Baconz, things aren't that bad. We can buy beer in grocery stores — well, some grocery stores — now.

Pres.Beeblebrox August 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Sure, but no more than 12 bottles or cans at a time…what kind of binge can you go on with that restriction?

Baconzgood August 15, 2012 at 5:55 pm

At a time. You just have to go back into the store and get another 12. Its the 2 hand law. Many of times I bought 3 or 4 cases of beer at 1:30 at a bar.

RadioBowels August 15, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Now there's an idiot.

ChernobylSoup August 15, 2012 at 3:34 pm

The judge went on to write, "besides, it's just poor people who will be affected."

James Michael Curley August 15, 2012 at 3:34 pm

Yea, like anybody is going to admit they look like their drivers license photo.

smokefilledroommate August 15, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Why don't all polling places just include a Wipeout-style obstacle course just to get in the goddamn door?

foxpuppet August 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm

The GOP wants the olds to make it to the polling booths. After that the suckers will be at the mercy of the Ryan Plot.

JustPixelz August 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm

I voted in Connecticut yesterday and had to show ID. And I'm white! Somebody obviously didn't get the memo on how this is supposed to work.

sullivanst August 15, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Primary, don't care.

ChernobylSoup August 15, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Was the poll worker Eddy Murphy dressed as a white dude?

SorosBot August 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Why the fuck do some states have their state/local primaries this late, and separate from their Presidential primaries?

CthuNHu August 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Because people who want to run for state rep often haven't even decided to by March, let alone run an entire primary campaign. And because having primaries in late summer or fall means a much shorter general election campaign better aligned with the willingness to pay attention to such things of the average citizen, rather than the eight months of frothy-mouthed broad-spectrum vituperation that the early presidential lock-in creates.

Baconzgood August 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm

PennDOT will get those 8,000,000 people ID. I mean, look at how nice and paved all our roads are in PA.

widestanceromance August 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Oh, thank you. I was going to pipe up with something to that effect in your comment above, but did not want to bash. I-83 would be smoother if it was still dirt.

FNMA August 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm

It's not bashing. Our state motto is "Road Construction Next 200 Miles."

smokefilledroommate August 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Say 'PennDOT Pothole Hotline' 5x fast.

foxpuppet August 15, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Do you have to click the heels of your ruby slippers each time?

MissNancyPriss August 16, 2012 at 12:43 am

Seriously. I just read the PA ID requirements and I, as a homeowner with a passport would not be able to meet the requirements. There is not a single person I know who has a SS card AND a passport AND mortgage papers or lease agreement. NOT ONE.

SorosBot August 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Considering that the state House majority leader Mike Turzai said, “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done,” I'm sure the judge is right "Act 18 will be implemented by Commonwealth agencies in a nonpartisan, evenhanded manner.”

noodlesalad August 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Sniff…Disenfranchisement is all growed up! It's not little Jimmy Crow, anymore, it's Mr. James P. Crow, Esq.

JustPixelz August 15, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Did anyone check this judge's ID before accepting his ruling?

WhatTheHeck August 15, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Here come the drudge. Here come the drudge.

chicken_thief August 15, 2012 at 3:37 pm

"…And the Arizona Republicans who cast their dead girlfriends’ votes."

I call bullshit. Rentboys are not "girlfriends".

An_Outhouse August 15, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Poor people don't vote. They're too busy robbing old ladies and pounding forties.

BloviateMe August 15, 2012 at 3:39 pm

It's neat how we now serve our constitution À la carte. Having to adhere it to every situation was getting irksome…who has the energy?

UnholyMoses August 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm

I was convinced that Act 18 will be implemented by Commonwealth agencies in a nonpartisan, evenhanded manner.

Translation: only the Poorz, liberal egghead college kids, and the Blahs will be affected. That = evenhanded! Q.E.DoIgetanothertermonthebenchnow?

MacRaith August 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Conservative legislators aren't even pretending any more, so why do conservative judges still find the need to cover for them? Why can't they just be honest and say in their opinions, "While this law will disenfranchise many valid voters, those concerns are secondary to the overriding need to prevent Democrats from winning office."

JustPixelz August 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm

The trouble I have with all these voter ID and curtailed hours and purge the rolls schemes is that they were passed without an intervening general election. Legislators should face an intervening election, otherwise it looks like they are rigging the system to help insure their own re-election. It's a kind of cheating.

Also, no actual fraud, it's an indirect poll tax, first time in U.S. history voting has been restricted, etc.

Isyaignert August 15, 2012 at 3:51 pm

"…kind of cheating" is what the Republicans do; it's the only way they can win (with the help of Fux News of course).

PhilippePetain August 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Looks like? They're doing it with gusto. I don't think there's even a facade of this being non-partisan.

chicken_thief August 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I wish we were as good at fixing problems that we do have as we are at fixing the ones we don't have. But then, you know what they say about wishes….

HogeyeGrex August 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm

If they were horses, dreamers could write $77,000 off their taxes?

ChernobylSoup August 15, 2012 at 3:42 pm

The 15th Amendment should have read, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall…"

ph7 August 15, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I was convinced that Act 18 will be implemented by Commonwealth agencies in a nonpartisan, evenhanded manner.

Yes, because elections are known for their nonpartisan, evenhanded nature.

Wasn't it Pennsylvania that set off the Drudge Siren about the Blank Panther standing in front of a polling location, intimidating voters by being a black person standing in front of a polling location?

Isyaignert August 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm

That's a funny as Alan "Who Me?" Greenspan saying that he had no idea that the Wall Street pit bulls wouldn't act like newborn puppies if they were let off their leashs and allowed to create cr@p out of nothing, sell it to the world, short everything, and watch the fireworks from their gated villas – or words to that effect.

sudsmckenzie August 15, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I love that the State Supreme Court wont be able to get a quorum cause one of the (R) justices is under indictment. Fuck yeah 'Merica!12

Pres.Beeblebrox August 15, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Indicted… yes, in the finest tradition of the Pennsylvania Judiciary, of course. Anyone remember the saga of Justice Rolf "I Heart Prescription Drugs" Larsen?

Lionel[redacted]Esq August 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Thank the gods. We wouldn't want people to vote in a democracy if we can exclude them for any reason.

Lionel[redacted]Esq August 15, 2012 at 3:44 pm

What is interesting is that if you read most right wing web sites, they will not give any support as to voter fraud (as there are no facts to back that up), and usually admit that they mostly don't want "stupid people" to vote.

So, who are the elitist now?

sudsmckenzie August 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm

I am just a humble caveman, but didnt the state admit they had no "known cases of voter fraud and no reason to believe there would be any fraud in this election"? literally, quoting them. Its like a Never Ending Story.

fartknocker August 15, 2012 at 3:44 pm

He who counts the votes decides everything. After the fiasco in Milwaukee county where the County Clerk was using MS Access to track votes and had a little oopsy moment, I suspect a few burough/village/town clerks will be deciding the elections in these communities.

widestanceromance August 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Better 699, 999 actual voters are denied a Constitutional right than one actually fraudulent vote be cast (if that). Our city shines once more, even as it glows on a hill of BS.

SayItWithWookies August 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm

If you stop one person from voting it's a crime — but if you stop 1% of the legally eligible population from voting, that doesn't meet this judge's standard for "immediate or inevitable?" I was hoping that even the dumb ones understood math, but apparently that's too ambitious.

Oblios_Cap August 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Finally! Back to the good old days when only white, male landowners could vote. Way to take our country back!

Pres.Beeblebrox August 15, 2012 at 4:41 pm

There are more than a few Republicans who would like that to be the law of the land.

Self-Uploader August 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Anyone who honestly believes that getting the "acceptable" ID for an elderly non-driver is not an obstacle course that not involves not only time but transportation and money, should be forced to actually do it.

Texan_Bulldog August 15, 2012 at 3:58 pm

People, quit fretting. The Diebold machines are already programmed to vote for the right people. Actual voting is for the gullible.

ahnc August 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Trying to think like the GOP: Since the GOP is so desperate to take the black out of the White House, I think they might pull a Jeb Bush and take one state, hell as many as they want, to the Supreme Court. And then 'Merica will have it's second president put into office by the Supremes.

deanbooth August 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm

he believed that more than 1 percent … lacked the required ID, but less than the 9 percent figure that opponents of the law submitted.

So I guess disenfranchising the 1% is A-OK (of course, not that 1%).

TootsStansbury August 15, 2012 at 4:11 pm

How and when can us citizens request UN intervention over the perversion of our democratic process?

Jukesgrrl August 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Maybe a call to President Carter. He's often a U.N. election observer in banana republics and has spoken eloquently about how equally abusive American elections are.

Jukesgrrl August 15, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I cannot even begin to make a joke about that. I feel like vomiting. Preferably on Judge Robert Doh Simpson.

Callyson August 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm

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.

This fucker. Because he "doesn't believe" the 9% figure, a law for which there is zero evidence of its necessity and whose supporters openly stated was designed to give Mittens the Keystone State is upheld?

Asshole.

Callyson August 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Oh, now I am really pissed–from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette's article on this crap:

Judge Simpson noted the likelihood of that appeal in his decision, stating that stopping the law now — and in turn the educational efforts underway by state officials — while an appeal is under review would cause "great injury" should the law again be upheld in the Supreme Court.

Great injury? Are you fucking kidding me? Who the hell would be injured? Does this guy think he is fooling anyone?

Callyson August 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Even more from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette:

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said Judge Simpson's decision would have a disproportionate and negative impact on Allegheny County.
"The Commonwealth itself has stated that more than 100,000 voters in Allegheny County could face problems voting in November because of the ID law," she said in a statement. "Just one vote denied is irreparable harm. Moreover, counties are burdened with the cost of implementation and the duty to prevent chaos at the polls in November."

Unfunded burden on local governments, disproportionate impact on the poor, and unnecessary interference with the people's vote: that's a Republican law, alright…

bikerlaureate August 15, 2012 at 6:28 pm

I read somewhere that dividing the number of Philly / Pittsburgh voters that were potentially affected, by the number of hours the ID-issuing offices will be open between now and the registration cutoff, yielded an absurd result (impossible to process even a significant portion of those needing ID before the deadline). Have you seen any reporting along that line…?

Callyson August 15, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Ouch…haven't seen that but that would not surprise me. My home state deserves better, dammit…

bikerlaureate August 15, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Maybe it was on Balloon Juice.

Consider it apocryphal until confirmed (I mean, surely the judge wouldn't uphold the law if it were so, right?)…

ETA –

In Philadelphia, it’s even worse: 186,830 registered voters, or 18 percent, do not have ID.

linky

So let's run some (heh) conservative numbers…
Say that estimate's off by a third.
And I see there are five PennDOT offices in Philadelphia County – let's pretend most of the photo ID units are open on Monday, for a generous total of 48 hours a week.
And assume full-blown registration is allowed right up to the day before the election…

124,553 potential voters to process in (5 offices*8 hours per day*67 days =) 2,680 hours.

Unless my math is flawed (or my logic – all too possible), that's a mere 46.47 voters to process per office, every single hour…

…unless a good chunk of those voters are willing and able to travel outside the county…

T3rbo August 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm

So the judge said, basically, keep track of those who are disenfranchised, report that number, and then we'll talk? Or was he just saying 'blahs, who cares?'

DahBoner August 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Pensylvania gruff.

rc33 August 15, 2012 at 4:43 pm

How does anyone do anything in this country without an I.D? There must be a 100 things less significant than voting (at libraries, public swimming pools, etc, etc..) that mandate an ID be shown.
As a Democrat, I find this topic absurd and almost embarrassing. And to make it a racial issue? C'mon.
It makes us look like the one's that are angling for voter fraud..

lingin August 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm

I live in Pennsylvania. I needed copies of my father's and paternal grandmother's death certificates. Daddy died in PA, his mother died in Florida. Florida sent me the certificate in less than a week. PA needed 8 weeks to process and send it.

Oh yeah, this will go well.

Pres.Beeblebrox August 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm

You know, "Pennsylvania" and "judge" are two words that are usually part of the punchline to a joke, or contained in a disciplinary opinion. Not the most distinguished judiciary in the country.

See, e.g.: http://www.poconorecord.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article

BZ1 August 15, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Obviously, the best judge money can buy!

outragedcitizen August 15, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I, too, believe that the law will be implemented in a "evenhanded manner", as long as the hand in question is lilly-white.

ttommyunger August 15, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Considering my votes here in Dumfukistan go directly down the Computer Rabbit Hole with no receipt and no record-I can't really see that any of this matters. I complain about this loudly every time I vote; not loud enough to get locked up, but loud enough to make some old people working there nervous for just a minute. FUCK!

mrblifil August 16, 2012 at 11:12 pm

It's for their own good. Voting for persons of color gives people funny ideas. Imagine if all kinds of persons of color just cold got up one day and decided to run for political office! Didn't think about that one, now did you?

FNMA August 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Yeah, good thing they never did anything really stupid like pick a president who turned out be a complete fucking disaster….Wait a minute…

Katydid August 15, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I was listening to a C-SPAN interview with that fuckhead Scalia the other day, and Brian Lamb asked him about Bush v. Gore. Scalia said his response to people that bring it up is, "Get over it."

I hope someone kicks him in the nuts. With briefs, of course.

Boojum August 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Or vice versa.

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