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The Hon. Ron Castille, Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
The Hon. Ron Castille, chief justice
of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Argh. This is not quite enough.
Overall, we are confronted with an ambitious effort on the part of the General Assembly to bring the new identification procedure into effect within a relatively short timeframe and an implementation process which has by no means been seamless in light of the serious operational constraints faced by the executive branch. Given this state of affairs, we are not satisfied with a mere predictive judgment based primarily on the assurances of government officials, even though we have no doubt they are proceeding in good faith.

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.

Translation: "Judge Simpson, are you really sure no one is going to be deprived of the right to vote? Really?"

In a way, it's a good decision insofar as it requires the lower court to meet a high, evidence-based standard. The parties agreed that IDs were not readily available under the law as-written, because Homeland Security regulations prevent IDs from being too easily obtainable, and so the question is whether PennDOT (our drivers license bureau) is doing a decent job on the new voting-only ID. Judge Simpson has until Oct. 2 to so rule, but we already know the answer: It's a massive burden at best.

Two Democratic justices, Debra Todd and Seamus McCaffery, would have gone further and halted the law right now. Justice Todd:

Forty-nine days before a Presidential election, the question no longer is whether the Commonwealth can constitutionally implement this law, but whether it has constitutionally implemented it. Despite impending near-certain loss of voting rights, despite the Commonwealth's admitted inability thus far to fully implement Act 18 and its acceptance that, presently, “the Law is not being implemented according to its terms,” and despite the majority's concession that the “most judicious remedy” in such circumstances would be to grant an injunction, the majority nonetheless allows the Commonwealth to virtually ignore the election clock and try once again to defend its inexplicable need to rush this law into application by November 6, 2012....

Like the majority, I am not “satisfied with a mere predictive judgment based primarily on the assurances of government officials.” But, unlike the majority, 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 integrity and voter confidence — are undermined, not advanced, by this Court's chosen course. Seven weeks before an election, the voters are entitled to know the rules.

By remanding to the Commonwealth Court, at this late date, and at this most critical civic moment, in my view, this Court abdicates its duty to emphatically decide a legal controversy vitally important to the citizens of this Commonwealth. The eyes of the nation are upon us, and this Court has chosen to punt rather than to act. I will have no part of it.

Justice McCaffery:
[A] new prediction from the lower court will have no more legal significance before this Court than the existing one, and I predict that, once again, we will be presented with a record that establishes that many thousands – indeed, ultimately uncountable numbers – of otherwise qualified  electors will lack a Photo ID for purposes of the upcoming election, and hence will be disenfranchised, despite the Commonwealth’s last ditch efforts to loosen the standards established by Act 18....

[T]he Commonwealth offered no evidence below of the existence of in-person voter fraud in this state or that in-person voter fraud is likely to occur in the upcoming election. The Commonwealth’s interest in the implementation of this law, at least as concerns the November election, is somewhere from slight to symbolic...

I was elected by the people of our Commonwealth, by Republicans, Democrats, Independents and others, as was every single Justice on this esteemed Court. I cannot now be a party to the potential disenfranchisement of even one otherwise qualified elector, including potentially many elderly and possibly disabled veterans who fought for the rights of every American to exercise their fundamental American right to vote. While I have no argument with the requirement that all Pennsylvania voters, at some reasonable point in the future, will have to present photo identification before they may cast their ballots, it is clear to me that the reason for the urgency of implementing Act 18 prior to the November 2012 election is purely political. That has been made abundantly clear by the House Majority Leader. I cannot in good conscience 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.

For now, the law remains in place.

Originally posted to Adam B on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 12:21 PM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Pennsylvania and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  My personal recommendation (41+ / 0-)

    As this Slate article explains, no one's doing better work in PA in getting folks IDs than the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.  They are my friends, and they work hard.

    If you can, please make a contribution to them of whatever amount you can -- $10, $25, $100 or more. I've seen the rigorous plan they've been implementing, but it takes money to make the phone calls and do the outreach to make it happen. We can't stop just because the Court might later enjoin the law; it's got to be full steam ahead. Please give now.

  •  Isn't there a 3-3 D/R split? (10+ / 0-)

    I understand that 1 justice is under suspension.  This ruling was probably about as good as could be expected under those circumstances.  They're creating a record that should help when this case probably ends back up before them.

    Hopefully, Simpson won't pull a Sanders Sauls and consciously try to run out the clock.   I understand that we're dealing exclusively w/ state law issues, which should mean that the SCOTUS will never get involved.  Then again, I chuckled to myself as I read Gore v. Harris on 12/8/00 and concluded that our state's high court had issued a bulletproof decision on state law.

    I still find it fascinating that Mickey Turzai, an acquiantance of mine at Notre Dame many moons ago, has become a central figure in this travesty.    It's even more fascinating that Turzai and I had a common friend whose father was a union organizer.  

    Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

    by RFK Lives on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 12:37:57 PM PDT

  •  Better than 3-3 (10+ / 0-)

    Adam: If Justice Max Baer doesn't join the remanding majority,the Commonwealth Court decision stands. We don't want that.While I agree with Justices Todd and McCaffrey(as do you) what we got was way better than what we could have gotten. i just think the readers need to be aware of that. Also, you are absolutely correct about the yeoman's work being done by the state Democratic Party and its allies with the ID project.

  •  it seems to me that (6+ / 0-)

    the SC is giving the lower court a do-over, and expects them to grant the injunction. If they do not, the subsequent appeal will be expedited, and then the SC would be expected to themselves grant the injunction. Or is that too simplistic? Maybe the question would not fall before the court that way?

  •  Adam, what do you make of this language? (8+ / 0-)

    As the dissents suggest, surely the majority should have gone further. But what about this language from the per curiam:

    "... 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."
    That language is pretty stark – "no voter disfranchisement." It's hard for me to see how the lower court could fail to issue the injunction.

    Again, I think the court should have ordered the lower court to issue the injunction, but that language is pretty close, no?

  •  It really seems wrong to me (5+ / 0-)

    that the Supremes did not suspend the law while the question was being examined.

    If they believe there's a good chance voters will be disenfranchised AND even the law's proponents can't point to any actual cases of fraud, the less evil seems obvious to me.

    Leave the voting process the same as it has been. There is no problem to be solved from 2008.

    Aside from the black Democrat won the state.

    Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

    by Scott Wooledge on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:31:06 PM PDT

    •  But if this had not happened, in PA and OH, (0+ / 0-)
      Aside from the black Democrat won the state.
      There wouldn't have been these laws passed in the first place. And I'm pretty sure your failure to support these laws' planned outcomes means you'll never be able to run for POTUS as a Republican. I bet that horrid result of your devotion to actual truth, justice and the (new) American way just devastates you..

      Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

      by davidincleveland on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 11:18:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It is better than what I expected (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KJB Oregon, davidincleveland

    It means that this law will probably be suspended.  I was afraid it would be upheld 3-3; or pushed to the crazy right-wing court who intervenes in such matters.

  •  You can't buy sudafed without ID (0+ / 0-)

    You cannot board a plane without ID.
    You cannot get treated in a hospital without photo ID if you are on a government plan.  (That actually may apply with any health plan)

    You cannot open a bank account for direct deposit of government assistance such as social security, etc..

    Federal disaster relief, including food stamps, in Pennsylvania require photo ID

    Ok.. So while I do not believe voter fraud is rampant, nor widespread, it still happens.  If a state wants to make a photo ID a requirement, let them do so and simply help every resident get one.

    Your comment above shows Dems are doing just that, Adam.

    It's just plain bullshit that it is a hardship - at least a major hardship.  If voting is important to you, get a friggin' ID.

    •  None of those are const'l rights (8+ / 0-)

      And the Commonwealth hasn't been helping residents get them, esp. not in this rushed a timeframe.

      Moreover, if I want to get Sudafed, or on a plane, it's not necessary that the name on the ID substantially conform with the name under which I registered to vote.

      •  Also, nobody is using their vote ... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MKinTN, cybersaur, teachme2night

        ... to manufacture meth, hijack an airplane or commit medicare fraud.

        Those all represent important governmental interests. Stopping voter fraud -- which doesn't exist according to Pennsylvania -- is by definition not an important governmental interest.

        It's like requiring everyone in Pennsylvania to take and pay for Judo lessons because. Bigfoot. Or something. But mostly Bigfoot.  

        On another note, when do Democrats start sending out the mass-FOIA requests to state legislatures, state attorneys general, state governors and the United States House of Representatives to find out how much "Gubmint money" and time have been spent on voter suppression efforts, restrictions on abortion and votes to repeal ObamaCare?

        Let's drown the liars in their lies and their hypocrisies. I'd join this fight if anyone knew where to get something like that started.

        I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

        by Tortmaster on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 01:46:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Get a clue - there no proof of voter fraud (4+ / 0-)

      but requiring ID will lead to disenfranchisement. Why? Because most 90-year-olds don't drive. Many were born at home (especially blacks) - a common thing in the 1920's and 30's - and have no birth certificate. Or they were born or married (maybe more than one marriage/name change) in another state (maybe more than one state), and the records are difficult to obtain, or impossible to obtain because the county courthouse burned 50 years ago. Imagine being 85 or 90 years old, likely a WWII veteran, unfamiliar with the internet, and trying to come up with these records from another state. Not to mention paying for the records if you can figure out how.

      It IS a hardship. Anybody who thinks it isn't doesn't have a clue.

      NC-4 (soon to be NC-6) Obama/Biden 2012

      by bear83 on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 08:03:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You don't need a birth certificate (0+ / 0-)

        Pennsylvania provides FREE photo ID's to anyone requesting them.  If you have no birth certificate, all you do is sign an oat/affirmation that you don't have one.

        Hardship, my ass.

        •  Wrong. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bear83

          If you have no birth certificate, you still need to prove your identity and residence through multiple documents, and it takes about half a day, minimum.

          •  So, I'm right... (0+ / 0-)

            There IS a way around the birth certificate requirement... it just takes some time.

            I got my info, BTW, on a Pennsylvania Dem website:

            http://www.padems.com/...

            NEW Department of State ID

            If you do not have all of the documentation required to obtain a FREE PennDOT Photo ID and cannot obtain the needed documentation, you are eligible for a FREE Department of State Photo ID.

            Registered voters are able to obtain a Department of State ID card at their local PennDOT Driver’s License Center. PennDOT Driver’s License Center locations can be found on the web at www.dot.state.pa.us or by phone through PennDOT’s customer call center at 1-800-932-4600.

            You will need to complete an oath/affirmation form stating that you do not have other acceptable identification and another form requesting this ID.

            To get a Department of State ID, you will need to provide the following information:

                Name
                Address
                Social Security Number
                Proof(s) of residence
                County
                Previous name and/or address if changed within the past 12 months

            Voters who have registered within the past 30 days will be able to indicate that by marking a box on the form.

            After confirming the voter’s identity and voter registration with the Department of State, the registered voter will then be issued a free Department of State Photo ID card.

    •  I'm going to charitably assume that this comment (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cybersaur, teachme2night

      was generated by a brain fart instead of farted by a troll. How or if you respond to the implied query in this observation will inform us all which one applies. Either way, the substanceless, meritless, no-analogy-on-point nature of the comment doesn't warrant further keystrokes from my arthritic fingers. At best, you deserve a Nero Wolfe pfui.

      Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

      by davidincleveland on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 11:27:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Either way, bad guys win. Purpose of these laws (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, squarewheel, davidincleveland

    is to sow confusion -- am I legally able to vote?  When it comes down to a question of accepting student ids, but ONLY if they have expiration dates -- clearly what is sufficient ID is NOT something that would be obvious to most people.

    And the more litigation goes on, the longer there is uncertainty, the greater this effect becomes, regardless of whether the law is later ruled unconstitutional.

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:50:35 PM PDT

    •  Exactly (3+ / 0-)

      This is just another extension of voter caging and other GOP dirty tricks - telling people the wrong day to vote, directing them to the wrong location, setting up police checkpoints near minority voting precincts, intimidating people of color at the polls, reducing the amount of voting equipment available in urban precincts - it's all an effort to keep the 'wrong people' away from the polls.

      All because Republican ideas suck for 99% of the country, whether people realize it or not.

      NC-4 (soon to be NC-6) Obama/Biden 2012

      by bear83 on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 08:09:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Antonin Scalia's & Originalism (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83, davidincleveland, cybersaur

    Justice Scalia has made the point that a law must be found in the text of the Constitution to be constitutional.  There is no requirement in the US Constitution that a voter must show a photo ID to vote.

    How can any self-respecting conservative not be outraged at the Photo ID requirement to vote?  

    If the crazies win this election the next requirement to vote will be that you must own land or a slave or contribute to a super-Pac and be MALE!  WHITE!

  •  Crunching the Numbers (0+ / 0-)

    “The average time it takes to complete the ID process is 4 hours. If we conservately estimate that 300,000 voters still need to complete the process, that is 1,200,000 manhours. There are only 400 working hours left before the election. Ergo, to accommodate the needs of the voters, Pennsylvania will need to dedicate 3,000 workers to complete the process. If Pennsylvania can't guarantee this, the lower court must strike down the statute.”

    All I wanted was a Pepsi....

    by marcim on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 10:55:47 PM PDT

  •  While I completely agree with you and the dissents (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TRPChicago

    legally, as a political animal I am actually delighted the GOP justices  found as they did. Had the PA Supreme Court ruled solely according to legal precedent and legal logic, the dissenters' arguments would have prevailed and the highest court of PA would have struck down this law, at least for the coming general election.

    The state would then have immediately appealed the PA Supreme Court ruling to the SCOTUS. The SCOTUS (probably) would have found, 5-4, for the state against its state supreme court's decision to overturn, and to either permanently or for-next-election, strike down this law.

    Remembering that the PA Supreme Court's decision comes seven weeks before E-Day 2012, a 5-4 SCOTUS decision siding with the State of Pennsylvania would leave this law in place with nowhere left to go and no time remaining on this year's election game clock. This theoretical but horribly likely outcome would be a worst case scenario outcome for the disenfranchisingly impacted Pennsylvania voters.

    Now consider what has actually occurred. I'm going to use the non-court term "gallup" to describe how fast the state GOP must now move, to have even a theoretical hope of getting this law implemented in time to apply this year: The case must now be galluped back to the original court. That court must re-consider and re-decide the case. However the original court finds in its new decision, appellants or appellees must next gallup back to the PA Supreme Court, seeking its consent to or rejection of the fresh lower court decision.

    At full gallup, both sides next get their first opportunity to proceed to the SCOTUS for that 5-4 decision. I predict all these gallant Pennsylvanians will be sitting astride their foundered horses in front of the SCOTUS 50 days from now at the earliest.

    A likely finding in favor of the state GOP wouldn't come in time to affect this year's election but, though post-election, in enough time to really inflame disenfranchised voters into throwing the current officeholders out on their collective ear. Sometimes bad law makes the best pragmatic politics.

    If you agree with this political take and likely timeline, Adam B, I'd prefer you don't directly agree publicly; we need you to argue DK's future net neutrality case in front of these House of Bourbon-memoried bozos honorable five (+4) justices. Naturally, if you disagree, it is a good opportunity to educate me about why I'm wrong (yet again) and I've honestly come to look forward to your corrections. You don't mince words. BTW, I still owe you an apology meta diary about what I stupidly claimed this blog is, and I haven't forgotten I owe you, sir, but post election.

    Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

    by davidincleveland on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 11:01:35 PM PDT

    •  I think the most important practical ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... aspect of the case is that the current Real Clear Politics polling average has the President up by 8.3%, and that's taking into account a really old poll from early August that had Obama up only 5%. The latest polls have him winning by 9 or 11% and hitting the magic 50% number.  

      I don't see the United States Supreme Court ruling in favor of Republicans, as it would be the most partisanly-driven decision in decades -- and the state even admits there's no important governmental interest involved -- because there's nothing in it for the GOP. Registered Voters are already polling at 50% for President Obama, and at 39% for Romney, the incentive to be unscrupulous is lacking.

      Even dumb criminals will go for the car that's unlocked rather than the one that's locked with the red light flashing on top of the dashboard.

      I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

      by Tortmaster on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 02:22:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oops. My analogy should be ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... that even dumb criminals know that you don't get rich mugging poor people!  ; )

        I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

        by Tortmaster on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 02:29:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Still looking for either a snark tag or (now) a (0+ / 0-)

          fantasy tag. You do realize that criminals routinely mug the victims least likely to fight back or be armed or bring repercussive retribution don't you? You do realize that "dumb" criminals are called that because some of them can't figure out things which are obvious even to you? You do realize, don't you, that only crazy muggers would expect to get rich mugging the wealthy, and that the merely dumb ones aren't quite dumb enough to believe a wealthy future will come from any stolen wallets?

          Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

          by davidincleveland on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 04:43:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Seems you've gotten hung up in the ... (0+ / 0-)

            ... analogies. More's the pity, as the comment is the meal, and the analogy just dessert. How about, instead, "Even dumb criminals know not to mug someone inside a police station."  

            I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

            by Tortmaster on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 05:57:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ahh.. I see.. I think.. It was all snark. Untagged (0+ / 0-)

              snark. Untagged and pointless snark, like an offering from Jokey Smurf. Beelzebub bless my bright blue butt. What a hunt! I've just learned something new about snark.. It can be pointless. Is it my last lesson? Did I just encounter a Boojum?? Am I fading awa...

              Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

              by davidincleveland on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 07:22:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I'm looking for your snark tag... (0+ / 0-)

        Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

        by davidincleveland on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 04:26:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

      This case solely rests on plaintiffs' rights under the Pennsylvania Constitution. It presents no federal issue upon which SCOTUS can rule.

      •  Please remind us again why the SCOTUS found a (0+ / 0-)

        federal issue in 2000 in Florida, after the Florida Supreme Court had ruled? And how that differs from the SCOTUS' inability to find a federal issue to help the PA GOP? Do either of these cases suggest anything to lawyers about how and why the SCOTUS sent the original Citizens United case back with instructions to expand, and then ruled as they did on the expanded case? I was making a political point with my first comment, not a legal one, which is why I said I agreed with you and the dessenters legally. I don't expect the SCOTUS to accept the voter ID law cases for anything other than political reasons thinly covered in a hard candy shell of 'legal' goodness

        Politically, four of the five Republican justices on the SCOTUS have rarely allowed legal considerations to trump politics if the stakes were high enough. Certainly Scalia and Thomas have repeatedly demonstrated this on the SCOTUS and Roberts and Alito have both demonstrated this as lower court federal judges and as SCOTUS justices.

        I respectfully submit two things: If the SCOTUS takes an ultimate appeal to them it will be for political reasons. If the SCOTUS can find a way to intervene in favor of state GOP ID laws it will do so. Make that three things: If we aren't prepared for just this sort of contingency the ox of our hopes could well wind up Gored.

        Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

        by davidincleveland on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 05:14:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Article II, sec 1, cl. 2. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          davidincleveland

          Also, 14th Amendment, and 3 USC 5.

          This case will never reach SCOTUS.

          •  Thanks. Darn it, like my best professors, asking (0+ / 0-)

            you a question always means I'll spend some hours studying your answer. Not really complaining; I like being made to do my homework where necessary, but I immediately see I'll have to read the case and other things for a few hours, which means finding time to do so. But I'll find the time with pleasure, just knowing this one can't reach them.

            I've been so gun-shy since 2000, winning Lawrence 6-3 still amazes me 9 years later. Citizens United not only didn't surprise me, when they first sent that case back down I knew what they were going to decide. Edie Windsor's case upsets my stomach. I know I'm going to be physically sick if she dies with her case unresolved, but I'm even more afraid of them taking her case and ruling against her at the end of her life.

            It is a terrible thing to have to live in fear of the court of final jurisdiction. I should be used to that. For me, the last few years are just a rollback to my childhood. As a believing child (from 8 to 16) my being totally convinced by the 'reliable' authority of my missionary parents that abominations like me were irredeemably hell-bound helped more than one doctor and more than one pharmacy meet their bills.

            Enough fossil fuel remains on Earth to warm it 6 degrees C by 2100 AD if it is all used. A +6 C planet will only sustain half a billion humans. Human population will rise to 9 billion by 2050. Any questions?

            by davidincleveland on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 08:27:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  this is bullshit (0+ / 0-)

    they are giving us no time to recover the damage they already caused.  I bet there already are people who have become frustrated and decided not to vote this year.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 02:31:06 AM PDT

  •  The decision is second best, but it is a strong... (0+ / 0-)

    ... second.  Best, it is calling the Republicans' bluff. (It is Republican legislators and governors in every state, I believe, who have imposed a voter photo ID requirement.)

    You just can't be against eligible voters voting. You just can't be for making it hard to comply with the registration law. Ditto on being sure the voter is in the right place. (We still have location-specific voting downticket and will likely have for ages to come.) And election officials do have the obligation to confirm the prospective voter's identity. (This requires good faith; abusing it is easily observable and tantamount to voter fraud.)

    Having been an election judge - and a poll watcher - I understand that an ID with the voter's name spelled correctly is very handy. (Asking for more, such as a current photo [US passports are valid for 10 years] or proof of residence when it hasn't changed is, again, abuse of the process.) So ... ID cards aren't all bad. (Many of us liberals argue against them, but they would make many transactions of human life a whole lot easier, especially handling voter moves, name changes, etc.)

    That said, being able to get one (1) conveniently, (2) without cost and (3) on the same day at the polling place (if necessary) ought to be an essential part of a state's voting process. Expensive? Yup ... so Republicans, think carefully before you impose a rigid voter photo ID requirement and do it at least a year in advance of the election you're gonna require 'em for.

    Best of all, get your data bases on a secure electronic record that is readily updatable at government offices throughout your cities and counties.

    Acute observers may see flaws in my enthusiasm, the most obvious of which is that there is such minuscule proof of voter fraud due to mis-identification. So there, Republicans, it is! Again, where's the problem?

    Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

    by TRPChicago on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 05:38:58 AM PDT

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