ACLU-PA To Announce Voter ID Suit
The ACLU said today it will announce a lawsuit tomorrow alongside the Advancement Project, the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP), and the Washington, DC law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP, against Governor Tom Corbett and the state over the recently-signed, soon-to-be-enforced Pennsylvania Voter ID law.
Several states, including Wisconsin and South Carolina, have had their Voter ID laws challenged and overturned by the Department of Justice.
In December 2011, the DOJ said Voter ID created unlawful barriers and would “reduce minority voting strength across the state.”
Pennsylvania’s version of the law was both passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Corbett in March. Still a work in progress, Pennsylvania’s version of the law requires constituents to show photo identification every time they go to the polls. The state has offered “free” IDs to those who cannot afford one, but the assertion that IDs are free has been challenged by critics.
Last Tuesday, the Committee of Seventy reported several complaints regarding voters being asked for ID. Some poll workers I spoke to in Center City noted constituents there were aware of the law, but were refusing to comply with it (which was OK during the primary, but will not be in November.) Most poll workers disagreed with it, too.
Critics say Voter ID laws disproportionately affect minorities, the elderly, college students and women—all of whom are often Democratic voting blocs. In addition, there is little-to-no evidence of voters misidentifying themselves at the polls and some have argued these laws are essentially a poll tax, a practice declared unconstitutional during the Civil Rights era.
Locally, groups like the Committee of Seventy and Cost of Freedom have been desperately trying to fight the war of information to make sure everyone who wants to vote in November, can. Only 20 percent of Pennsylvania came out for last Tuesday’s primary. That number will likely be much, much higher in November.
A so-called “ACORN whistle blower” recently told the True the Vote National Summit in Houston, Texas that the Department of Justice has “gone wild” over their handling of Voter ID laws.