I'm a news junky, so I've been on edge about the Pennsylvania voter ID law. Here are some updates, which seem to be an improvement over what we were seeing a few weeks ago, but still, not out of the woods.
The main issue in Tuesday's hearing is that the process for issuing IDs has been stricter than what was originally intended under the law.Jakewaters does a great job providing a good picture of the situation through links in his diary from Philly.com, The Pittsburg Gazette, The ACLU, and the amicus breifs.
The voter ID law established a policy of "liberal access" to identification cards, but national security concerns associated with making it too easy to get a government issued ID, have resulted in a more rigorous process for voters to get IDs.
Under the current system those seeking to obtain a voter ID must present a birth certificate with a raised seal (or equivalent document), a Social Security card, and two forms of documentation showing current residency.
According to court documents, these requirements were put in place because the IDs, which are issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), can be used to board commercial aircrafts.
Judge Simpson has been ordered to give his opinion on or before Oct. 2 -- barely a month before the election. Today he suggested he might block at least part of the law and then further dicking around:
"I'm going to ask both sides what the injunction should look like," Simpson told the attorneys at the end of the first day of what is scheduled to be a two-day re-hearing. "I'm giving you a heads up. I need input from people who have been working on this longer than I have."Uh... he's had since May 24th, when the court date was first set, to "work" on this.
Simpson might still let the law stand because the state has eased the procedure to get a voter ID If that is the case, people will still have a difficult time just getting to the DMV. You'd think that the powers that be might have taken into consideration that to get to the DMV, requires driving and people without voter ID don't drive.
In the department of why didn't I think of that,
Two Pennsylvania counties are implementing a creative new solution to arm as many residents as possible with voter IDs before the November election, issuing identification cards that can be used to vote through county-run nursing homes and colleges. The move takes advantage of a loophole in the state’s restrictive voter ID law that allows the facilities to issue ID cards to anyone – not just those who attend the colleges or live at the nursing homes.Philadelphia and other counties are considering doing the same. What a sweet idea!
Hopefully not enough Democrats will be disenfranchised this go round to lose the presidency or any significant offices to the republicans.