Wonkette’s Handy Explainer Of Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Supreme Court Case, With Dick Jokes

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Ben Franklin is judging youYesterday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court voted 4-2 (with IDs???) to send the challenge to the Pennsylvania voter ID law back to the lower state court that found the law was constitutional.

The Supreme Court told Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson that he must put the voter-ID law on hold if he determines that it will keep voters from casting ballots. The law requires state-approved identification to vote.

It is now time for your Wonkette, one of the premier legal blogs on the entire internet, to explain to you, dear hearts, what this is all about, but with dick jokes.

Q: So, what does this law say?

Here’s the text, which we found through an obscure academic resource called “Google.”

Short version: you need a government-issued photo ID to vote. You may obtain either a drivers’ license or a photo ID from Pennsylvania, or provide other kinds of ID, like a valid student ID, military ID, or passport. You can also provide non-qualifying ID (including a firearm permit, really), which the election judge will inspect to determine its validity. If the election judge challenges your ID, or  you cannot provide any, you will be able to cast a provisional ballot if you provide ID (that you didn’t have to begin with) within six days. There’s other stuff, but that’s the short version.

Q: Okay, then, what’s the big issue?

Look at the requirements on those license/ID forms. You need to provide a Social Security card plus a birth certificate, passport, or certificates of citizenship or naturalization. If you don’t have one of those things (or if you got married and the name on your birth certificate is different because you’re one of those traditionalists or you just really hated your name), you can’t get an ID. Pennsylvania offers a free voter ID with lower requirements than a license or regular ID, and does so for free. But there’s no guarantee the state can administer that program in time for the November election, or that people know the free ID exists.

Q: A solution, I think – maybe they could advertise on Wonkette about the free IDs?

MAYBE THEY COULD, RIGHT?

Q: What happened legally to get to this point?

There was a trial in a lower Pennsylvania court, and the judge found that the voter ID law was constitutional because he was persuaded that the state would provide the necessary safeguards to protect all voters, even though they could provide no actual reason the law existed. You see, the state decided to argue that it was protecting against the wholly theoretical harm of voter fraud, and that it would refrain from doing anything like, say, proving the harm.

Because the law protected all classes of voters equally (in theory – the judge, oddly, found that the law probably would burden some voters, but not in a discriminatory fashion, but don’t ask, his robe was pretty), there was no violation of either the federal or state constitution.

Q: It seems like putting a burden on a constitutional right for no discernible reason would violate the Constitution?

I know, right? Unfortunately, the Supreme Court ruled in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board that the standard for burdening the franchise with voter ID regulations was whether the state had a legitimate interest in preventing voter fraud, regardless of whether it could prove the legitimate interest was in any way founded in reality.

Q: I once heard someone use the phrase “swift kick in the balls.” This seems like that.

Bring it in for a hug, I like you.

Q: So, what’s going on now?

The Pennsylvania Supremes (who are a beefier, friendlier version of the U.S. Supremes) have created a new standard by which the original trial judge must determine the case: instead of determining whether the law violates equal protection in broad swaths (i.e., it burdens someone, but no particular identifiable group), the trial judge must determine whether it will keep anyone from casting a ballot.

Q: How do you think this will turn out?

One of two things will happen: 1) under the new standard, the judge will find that this obviously does burden someone’s vote, and will postpone the law’s implementation; or 2) under the new standard, the judge will find that nobody’s actually burdened because the state is awesome and magic fairies will carry elderly black people to the Department of State to sign them up for one of three IDs they may or may not have brought the correct ID for.

Q: What happens if the judge upholds the law?

Oh, utter hilarity. So, if he upholds the law, the plaintiffs can still appeal in Pennsylvania. They’re asking for a preliminary injunction, designed to keep things as they were before the law’s implementation through Election Day. They can continue to pursue that remedy in state court and also file separate challenges in federal court, potentially. If the judge upholds the law, you also have the issue that the litigation has created the very problem the judge said the state could prevent – confusion and disenfranchisement. Because the case has been in court, and the Pennsylvania Supremes punted it back to the lower court, the status of the law is unclear.

Short version: because the state doesn’t know for sure if it can legally implement the law until at least October, voters don’t know if they need to abide by the law yet. Which means that if the law is ultimately upheld, it will be with about three or so weeks before Election Day. At that point, trying to issue proper IDs to the most affected parties will turn into a clusterfuck of truly epic proportions that will almost certainly prove the plaintiffs correct.

Q: What can I, as a concerned citizen of the world, do to help?

Well, one, put your dick back in your pants and stop wanking to your own self-righteousness, Christ. Second, if you know any Pennsylvania voters, encourage them to either get a valid ID or, if they can’t, to contact the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

Q: But my beloved MeeMee is an anarcho-syndicalist who doesn’t believe in registering with the government out of a principle of self-determination.

MeeMee can have fun putting out her own fires and jailing her own criminals.

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124 comments

  1. noodlesalad

    Republicans prevent people from voting for Democrats through intimidation and labyrinthine legal requirements. Democrats prevent people from voting Republican by simply pointing out that GOP candidates are douchebags, idjits, and comic book villains with lame superpowers.

    1. Misty Malarky

      Well, it really isn't very nice to lift up a mossy rock and shine a bright on the bloated white slug-like creatures crawling around underneath it. It makes their photoreceptors sting like the dickens.

      1. thatsitfortheother1

        The state I vote in required me to affirm that I would not attempt to cast a ballot in the Republican primary because I am a registered Democrat.

        They've taken all the fun out of primaries.

    1. BerkeleyBear

      What part of allowing a firearm permit as ID don't you understand? (I know Dems shoot guns too, but you can be all but certain this is a protect whitey provision).

    2. finallyhappy

      hell, I've been an election judge so I imagine if Old Mrs. Whity McChristian comes in to vote in parts of PA- she could show them her Shoprite card and they would say OK. Now Mrs Black Lady McScary(because she is black) comes in with her photo ID from her job and other id with her name and address but no photo on those and the election judge says no. I mean. most of the election judges I worked with here in Silver Spring, MD are good smart honest people- even the GOp ones- but I certainly wouldn't believe it is the same in many other places.

    1. Dudleydidwrong

      I found one dick joke at the end of the legal briefs but it told me to do something I find difficult (hard) to do right now–stuff it back in my briefs. Your briefs and my briefs are at odds. Is this a case for the Supremememe Court? If so, which one? I haz a confused.

      1. Texan_Bulldog

        That's a little tidbit I secretly relish. My RW friends who hate Obama all LOVE Costco because Sam's is too much like WalMart.

    1. Lot_49

      Please don't shop at any of those dreadful places. Doing so will destroy your soul. Or perhaps even your body if, when you're reaching for a high shelf in the pantry, three 128-oz jars of French's mustard that you were forced to buy to eat one hot dog fall down and crush your skull.

    2. outragedcitizen

      That is a good question. Could a SAM member card qualify? I mean it does have my picture on the back. Of course, about a half inch square and could be just about anybody including one of my dogs, but still, it is a picture ID.

  2. freakishlywrong

    "Voter ID, which will help Romney win the Presidency, DONE". Wasn't that dickbag from PA? Or some other state that's fucking with our elections?

    1. Pres.Beeblebrox

      Yes, said dickbag was a PA state representative, whose Chamber is currently infested with weird TeaThuglican types from the "-tucky" part of Pennsyltucky as well as certain O.C.-like Philly suburbs.

    2. slowhansolo

      Yeah, that would be Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai. Except he actually said "help Gov. Romney win the state of Pennsylvania."

      Of course, Pennsylvania is a commonwealth, but shhh…

  3. SorosBot

    Well it's not like the very people who passed the law admitted, in fact bragged, that they were doing it to try and steal Pennsylvania's electoral votes for Romney or anything.

      1. SorosBot

        And the fact that it doesn't occur doesn't mean we shouldn't take every step to prevent it from not happening!

      1. oenspiek

        It would be entertaining to see their reaction were an effort made somehow to disenfranchise their voters. Also, too.

  4. ttommyunger

    It is not at all comforting to realize that hate, fear and racial bigotry extend well beyond the Southern States and is embraced by much of the Judiciary Nationwide as well.

    1. delaney_blom

      Perhaps you've heard of "West Pennsyltucky"?

      The Mason Dixon Line was a reliable guide for so long, but now you also have to factor in proximity to major bodies of water and/or urban areas to determine the likelihood of hate, fear, and racial bigotry.

    2. Chow Yun Flat

      Unfortunately people in Michigan and Illinois (the states I have spent most time) are just as rottenly racist as anyone from Alabama or Georgia. We just do a better job of hiding it in the north except in cases like voter disenfranchisement, Black Panther Party, etc.

  5. delaney_blom

    This post really under-delivered on the promise of dick jokes.

    Voter ID has a rich tradition in Pennsylvania. Benjamin Franklin ("Wanklin' Franklin") always whipped it out when he voted and declared, "It may not be government-issued, but it is personally identifiable."

    1. PubOption

      Wasn't there something along the lines of "We must hang together, otherwise we might be well-hung, separately."

  6. RadioX

    Hey moochers, that's right, you have to go mooch some more government services in the form of picture ID to be able to vote. After all, 47% of the population of Pennsylvania is a pretty big number.

  7. Come here a minute

    Q: If a Pennsylvanian's drivers' license says they need corrective lenses to drive, do they need corrective lenses to vote?

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      Good question. On a related note, if you park in a handicapped spot, you could get a ticket. What if you take a dump in a handicapped toilet stall?

    2. PsycWench

      Is there any chance that Pennsylvanians will be weighed at the polls to make sure their weight on the license is accurate in order to vote?

      1. finallyhappy

        I would be shit out of luck then- and my photo is old too. In Maryland(for some time period before you are 65) you can renew your license by mail – I had to get my eye dr to sign a certificate but you can use the same photo and I just didn't change the weight. I look like my photo(just older and plumper)

  8. Toomush_Infer

    I predict fistfights among the voting precinct judges – as a past Minnesota judge (for which I was paid $150, along with the Republican judges), it was quite a task not to knock the chair out from under one of them, all day long….however, Jesse Ventura was still elected governor despite several voter challenges….

    1. Lot_49

      Ah, those were the days. Didn't Jesse just just use his rasslin' and Navy-SEAL powers to fix everything up and make Minnesota into an earthly libertarian paradise?

      1. Toomush_Infer

        He had this great ad with little action figures in a child's hands, the Ventura wrestler beating up on the blue serge suited opponents, smashing them face down into the sandbox…. and, hey, Minnesota's still some cold paradise, what with the Legacy and all…

    2. finallyhappy

      $150??? I got $100 – we didn't fight or talk much- but it was a very long day so I didn't make minimum wage

  9. Lucidamente1

    Put your dick back in your pants and stop wanking to your own self-righteousness.

    And how, pray tell, am I supposed to fill the time until the next Wonkette post?

  10. LibertyLover

    Stupid womenz! That'll teach them to get married and change their name all hopey changey-like. They should have anticipated that that birth certificate that you are carrying can't possibly be yours even though it's been tucked in your file cabinet for when you have to prove you are old enough to play soccer in the over 50 league.

    Because it's so easy to get someone else's birth certificate.

  11. Terry

    My mother was born in Pennsylvania in the 20's in the front parlor of her family's house in a small coal town. She doesn't have a birth certificate. The birth was "registered" but no birth certificate was given. She was baptized in the local Catholic church, but sometime in the 30's there was a fire and all the baptismal records were lost. She moved to the Big City during WW2 and didn't need a car. If she hadn't married Dad and moved to the 'burbs in the early 60's, she probably would never have had a drivers license. Thankfully, the rules for proof of ID in the 60's were less than now.

    Had Mom stayed in the city, she'd have no way to vote under this law. (Well, she did move to Maryland which isn't part of this foolishness at the moment.) If you lack a birth certificate and a baptismal certificate, they often ask for notarized statements from people who have known you all your life. I had to do this when DC and Georgetown University Hospital both lost the record of my birth and my folks couldn't find my birth certificate. It was easy for me to come up with multiple people who have known me since birth. For Mom, however, she is the last of her generation in the family. There is NO ONE alive who has known her since her birth. If she was still living in Pennsylvania, my 86 yr old mother would be one of the people barred from voting.

      1. Terry

        I dare someone at the polls in November to tell Mom that she's passed away. She's on a first name basis with members of Congress and in State Senate and House of Delegates. Do not annoy elderly ladies. They have experience, know people, and have time on their hands.

        1. BaldarTFlagass

          "If she was still living in Pennsylvania, my 86 yr old mother would be one of the people barred from voting. "

          Whoops, my bad. I only comprehended the first five words of that sentence.
          *gets all embarrassed and stares at feet*

    1. Lot_49

      This tissue of mendacity reeks of the sort of in-person voter fraud the good people of Pennsylvania are trying to get rid of, as soon as they find any evidence that it ever happened, or even not, because, y'know, Obama'n'shit.

  12. weejee

    Speaking of dick jokes, isn't that the Pennsylvania Legislature peeking-out from behind the Wonkville bison's tail? No, no, sillies from the cavern a bit north from the buffalo dick.

  13. Dudleydidwrong

    Shit! That's all we need: election judges must be Freudian psychoanalysts. When you go to vote just make sure you have enough time for the couch.

  14. Oblios_Cap

    Are they allowed to bring a submission from "The People of Wal-Mart" as ID? There's a good chance that if it's a guy, his dick will be sticking out.

  15. Hera Sent Me

    Don't forget that state officials were dragging their feet about issuing "free voter ID with lower requirements than a license or regular ID" because of claims they were a Homeland Security risk.

    And also because they resent Poors getting anything free.

  16. prommie

    Fucking Wonkette has got some jinky shit in the advertisements that is freaking my work network's security all the fuck out and tying my magic-screen box thing in knots and you gotta fix that shit Rebecca cause your primary audience here is people at work goofing off.

    1. MumbletyX

      Do you get a pop-up message

      "http://cdnapi.kaltura.com/index.php/kwidget/wid/1_2cvxxp5j/uiconf_id/6740162/st_cache/10332?referer <a href="http://=http://www.tmz.com/videos/0_zfloxyd0&amp;

      ” target=”_blank”>=http://www.tmz.com/videos/0_zfloxyd0&
      followed by "Run Script / Yes or No" that won't go away?
      Or, what actor212 said. I see now it is a tmz wrinkle. It isn't a problem on the Google Chrome browser, fwiw, only in Explorer — and as you said, it only started happening just recently.

  17. MistaEko

    No Anthony Weiner or Chris Lee references in a story focusing on Picture ID? These are the Dick Joke Par 3s, Jesse!

  18. CalvinsChoice

    Although I come to Wonkette mostly for the excellent Blingees, that was the best explanation of this complicated decision I have read. Seriously. Can you explain the search for the Higgs Boson now?

  19. Pres.Beeblebrox

    So the Stop Poors and Browns and Blacks in Pennsylvania's Cities from Voting Bill is still alive. I just love my birth state and its fine judiciary sometimes. After all, the reason the PA Supremes are missing a justice (only 6 sitting instead of the usual 7) is because she was indicted for using state resources in her campaign… following in the footsteps of Rolf Larson, who was impeached and removed from the PA Supremes after being indicted for prescription drug fraud, and many other great PA judges who were ousted for doing things like fondling their daughter at a Hilary Duff concert, mooning a bar crowd, and taking bribes to fix cases.

  20. Calapine

    "Q: What can I, as a concerned citizen of the world, do to help?

    A: Well, one, put your dick back in your pants and stop wanking to your own self-righteousness, Christ. Second, if you know any Pennsylvania voters, encourage them to either get a valid ID or, if they can’t, to contact the ACLU of Pennsylvania."

    I don't have a dick and don't know anyone from Pennsylvania, but I'd still like to help!
    What can I do??

  21. Me_K_Cong

    There is an important new doctrine of common law awakening in the supreme courts of Amercia: It's ok to violate somebody's rights, as long as everyone's rights are violated equally. (It really does makes the constitution a whole lot easier to swallow.)

    Another important rule: The Parasite is the organism that is the thinnest. The Host is the worm that is the fattest. Always.

  22. fuflans

    as my aging aunt and elderly uncle are unreconstructed wingtards (and i have to visit them the weekend before the election and do not want mr. fuflans to kill them with facts and words) i am planning to tell them that by virtue of their white skin color, they have already voted by proxy.

  23. Baba_NinjaCat12

    The state supreme court should keeping send the case back to lower court every-time they received it. I think they called it, "Judicial Pong".

  24. slowhansolo

    "If the election judge challenges your ID, or you cannot provide any, you will be able to cast a provisional ballot if you provide ID (that you didn’t have to begin with) within six days."

    Just to clarify: You cast the provisional ballot immediately at the polling place, and then have six days to make an extra, totally convenient, trip to the local county registrar to show your papers, please. Which, as noted, you didn't have six days ago.

    The process is important because it allows the GOP election stealers to claim that no one will actually be denied the act of voting on Election Day. The meaning behind the act? Maybe not so much.

  25. TribecaMike

    The more I read about Ben Franklin, especially his views on slavery and the moneyed class, the more I think he's a post-colonial douche.

Comments are closed.