The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


January 27, 2014

Voting is a right to protect

Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley ruled recently that Pennsylvania’s requirement for voters to show photo identification in order to vote is unreasonable and unconstitutional. The law was enacted by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in 2012 with the sole purpose of suppressing the Democratic vote during the presidential election.

Following McGinley’s ruling, Republicans are again spouting absurd reasons for supporting this ID requirement. Republican insist that voter ID should be required because a photo ID is required for other things such as auto insurance, doctor visits, bank accounts, cashing checks and cited activities such as passports, air travel, and hunting or fishing licenses, which require ID.

While it is true that ID is necessary for these and many other daily activities, the majority of the eligible voters who would be disenfranchised by this law (the elderly, disabled, low-income and homeless), do not regularly undertake such activities. Many also do not have the physical means or financial ability to easily obtain the required ID, a finding included in McGinley’s decision.

Voting is a right and as McGinley noted any requirement for voter ID must ensure “liberal access to compliant photo IDs so that the requirement … does not disenfranchise valid voters.” The activities cited by Republicans are privileges and more stringent requirements will not dissuade those who wish to voluntarily participate.

Perhaps the most ludicrous response to the ruling was that of Pennsylvania Republican Party chairman Rob Gleason who stated, “The Republican Party of Pennsylvania will continue to serve as a leading advocate for policies that ensure a fair right to vote for all Pennsylvanians.” Coming from the party that enacted this ridiculous legislation in the first place, I find that hard to believe. 

David B. Kyle, New Columbia

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