(4 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Voting rights have come under attack in the last few years based mostly on the false premise of voter fraud. Civil liberties and private citizen groups have been fighting back with some help from the Federal Government in states that are governed by the 1965 Voting Rights Act that ended “Jim Crow” laws. Recent federal court rulings threw out the voter ID laws in Texas, South Carolina and the District of Columbia.
In Pennsylvania this week, the State Supreme Court handed down a 4 – 2 ruling that returned that state’s controversial voter ID law (pdf) back to the Commonwealth Court for review with these instructions:
Thus, we will return the matter to the Commonwealth Court to make a present assessment of the actual availability of the alternate identification cards on a developed record in light of the experience since the time the cards became available. In this regard, the court is to consider whether the procedures being used for deployment of the cards comport with the requirement of liberal access which the General Assembly attached to the issuance of PennDOT identification cards. If they do not, or if the Commonwealth Court is not still convinced in its predictive judgment that there will be no voter disenfranchisement arising out of the Commonwealth’s implementation of a voter identification requirement for purposes of the upcoming election, that court is obliged to enter a preliminary injunction.
In other words, the state must show that they can get a valid ID in the hands of any eligible voter who wants one between now and the election. If they can’t and , the court believes that voters will be disenfranchised, then the court must issue an injunction enjoining the law.
After all this country went through in the 1960’s to ensure the voting rights of minorities, it seems surreal that we are having a similar battle to protect not only those same minorities but the elderly, the poor, and students.