Judge Upholds Pennsylvania VoterID Law

Despite the stipulation by both sides that voter fraud was not a problem in Pennsylvania, the judge hearing a challenge to the state's Voter ID law today upheld it in a 73-page opinion. Basically, his ruling was this: It doesn't matter if

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Despite the stipulation by both sides that voter fraud was not a problem in Pennsylvania, the judge hearing a challenge to the state's Voter ID law today upheld it in a 73-page opinion.

Basically, his ruling was this: It doesn't matter if there isn't a problem. Nothing precludes the legislature from making a law preventing one, even if such a problem doesn't exist and is unlikely to exist. Also, there are enough ways to satisfy the law that no one will be prevented from voting. Maybe.

It seemed to me that this judge hung his hat on the fact that provisional and absentee ballots could be cast without identification. My problem with that is that provisional ballots aren't always counted, and absentee ballots will still require a valid voter registration. How do homeless people vote? It also singles out voters for armies of lawyers to challenge.

Most galling of all, he acknowledged Mike Turzai's comments about fixing the election for a Romney win and then went on to discount them because he didn't make them while in legislative session and there was no evidence that other legislators were in the room. Really? At a Republican retreat? Really?

Voter ID laws are undemocratic. Period.

Here's one story of how a college student in North Carolina navigated a difficult system fraught with barriers:

That Saturday, I spent about two hours at the early voting site at the Graham, N.C., Public Library. I told the poll worker I needed a provisional ballot and was sent to the voter registration line. I completed another voter registration form and more than half an hour later I explained my situation, again, to another poll worker. I was sent to someone else and finally was able to cast a provisional ballot.

The process was draining and frustrating. The poll workers clearly were confused; one was obviously annoyed, even hostile. Several friends were with me, and we all talked about leaving.

My boyfriend was registered to vote in another North Carolina county, and showed his on-campus address by using his iPhone, but was told he needed a document. Several other friends from his building had similar problems, and they all had to step out of the long line. One woman applied for a library card, and then each student paid to use the printer.

Was her vote counted? Read the article to find out.

And still more undemocratic action in Florida, where Rick Scott promises a new voter roll purge before the November election, despite reservations of county election officials.

The Obama campaign is definitely fighting back legally and also with their GottaVote.org website. They've assembled resources on a state-by-state basis there with checklists for registration and other important resources. If you live in a VoterID state, please keep that site in mind for help with voter registration.

While I realize there isn't anything preventing Republicans from making laws that benefit them, the vote is the one thing in our democracy we have. It frustrates me that people don't vote in every election. Imagine the impact if our turnouts were 100 percent instead of the lousy 50-60 percent they usually are in a high-turnout election. Maybe we'd actually have a better and more perfect union.

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