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.