The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Rave

October 3, 2012

Simpson's ruling puts state to test

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson's decision to halt implementation of the voter ID law for the presidential election was almost inevitable considering the manner the question to him was framed by the Supreme Court.

As Simpson explained it, he was not asked to consider the Constitutionality of the law, only whether implementation would disenfranchise voters.

Simpson, who originally ruled that voter identification requirements were legal, continued to maintain that there is nothing wrong with mandating that all voters present ID. However, all available evidence shows that, despite the yeoman's effort of the Department of State and Department of Transportation, too many registered voters will lack sufficient identification to participate in the Nov. 6 election.

With the election only a little more than a month away, just over 10,000 voters have received new identification, despite a summer-long campaign intended to educate the public about the law.

His ruling came after listening to two days of testimony about the state's eleventh-hour efforts to make it easier to get a valid photo ID. He also heard about long lines and ill-informed clerks at driver's license centers and identification requirements that made it hard for some registered voters to get a state-issued photo ID.

The state has been scrambling to satisfy the requirements of the law while providing voters needed identification.

The real test remains.

With no evidence that impersonation voter fraud was ever a problem, the voter identification plan was tainted by partisan politics. The legislation was also widely seen as a bid by Republicans to make it more difficult for the poor and other voters who may lack drivers' licenses (and may be inclined to vote for Democrats) from participating in the presidential election.

There is still no evidence that the legislation is targeting a real problem.

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