Public Spirit - - OPINION -

The best ad­vice to­day is the same as be­fore the state Supreme Court ruled (well, sort of) on the Voter ID law. Make sure you have proper ID be­fore Nov. 6. Make sure friends and fam­ily mem­bers do, too — es­pe­cially WKH HOGHUOy DnG WKH in­fiUP. DR iW nRw. DRn’W wDiW, EHFDuVH WDOHV RI EuUHDuFUDWiF GiI­fiFuOWiHV REWDin­inJ ,D KDYH EHHn wiGHVSUHDG.

The state high court ba­si­cally or­dered a do-over by Com­mon­wealth Court. It agreed there could be prob­lems with the law — par­tic­u­larly the afore­men­tioned some have had in getWinJ SURSHU ,D. ,W DJUHHG VuFK GiI­fiFuOWiHV FRuOG SRVH FRnVWiWu­tional prob­lems.

Com­mon­wealth Court Judge Robert Simp­son in­di­cated Tues­day he might grant an in­junc­tion, but what form that would take was not known as of Thurs­day morn­ing.

The high court should have sim­ply granted an in­junc­tion, sus­pend­ing the law un­til the next elec­tion and giv­ing the state more time to prop­erly im­ple­ment its pro­vi­sions. In­stead, it told Com­mon­wealth Court to pre­dict, given more cur­rent in­for­ma­tion of state ef­forts to pro­vide IDs to peo­ple, whether a sub­stan­tial num­ber of cit­i­zens would be de­nied their vot­ing rights. If it looks like peo­ple will be dis­en­fran­chised, Com­mon­wealth Court must grant an in­junc­tion to pro­tect cit­i­zens’ rights. That last word — rights — is the key here. Many peo­ple have noted that get­ting an ID card is not such a big deal — you need one to drive, cash a check or board a plane. But driv­ing and cash­ing checks and board­ing planes are not rights — vot­ing is.

The mo­ti­va­tion of this law is clearly po­lit­i­cal — to de­press the vote of peo­ple more likely to vote Demo­cratic. A Penn­syl­va­nia Repub­li­can House leader said so in com­ments caught on video.

The two dis­sent­ing mem­bers of the state high court were right on tar­get in crit­i­ciz­ing their col­leagues’ wimpy de­ci­sion.

Jus­tice De­bra Todd ac­cused her col­leagues of “punt­ing” on WKH iVVuH:

“I have heard enough about the Com­mon­wealth’s scram­ble to meet this law’s re­quire­ments. There is am­ple ev­i­dence of dis­ar­ray in the record, and I would not al­low chaos to beget chaos. The stated un­der­pin­nings of Act 18 — elec­tion in­tegUiWy DnG YRWHU FRn­fiGHnFH — DUH unGHUPinHG, nRW DGYDnFHG, Ey this Court’s cho­sen course. Seven weeks be­fore an elec­tion, the vot­ers are en­ti­tled to know the rules.”

-uVWiFH 6HDPuV 0FCDIIHUy wURWH: “, FDn­nRW in JRRG FRn­science par­tic­i­pate in a de­ci­sion that so clearly has the ef­fect of al­low­ing pol­i­tics to trump the solemn oath that I swore to up­hold our Con­sti­tu­tion. That Con­sti­tu­tion has made the right to vote a right verg­ing on the sa­cred, and that right should never be tram­pled by par­ti­san pol­i­tics.” Amen. In the end, the Com­mon­wealth Court may do the right thing and put this law on hold. It has un­til lct. 2 to rule.

But what­ever the Com­mon­wealth Court does, ex­pect one side or the other to ap­peal. It could land right back in the high court’s lap — then, per­haps, wind up in fed­eral court. Then we FRuOG finG RuUVHOYHV Rn HOHFWiRn HYH wiWKRuW UHVROuWiRn. Don’t wait to see how this le­gal drama ends. Get an ID now.

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