A Pennsylvania judge struck down the state’s heavily-criticized law requiring voters to have a separate identification for use at the polls, the New York Times reported on Friday. “Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election,”…
*more at linked story
Last week in Pennsylvania, Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard L. McGinley struck down the PA Voter ID law that was passed prior to the 2012 elections. This was the same law that the Pennsylvania House Republican Leader Mike Turzai said would allow Romney to win Pennsylvania in a speech given to the State Republican Committee.
“We are focused on making sure that we meet our obligations that we’ve talked about for years,” said Turzai in a speech to committee members Saturday. He mentioned the law among a laundry list of accomplishments made by the GOP-run legislature.
“Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”
The statement drew a loud round of applause from the audience. It also struck a nerve among critics, who called it an admission that they passed the bill to make it harder for Democrats to vote — and not to prevent voter fraud as the legislators claimed.
If there were a credible threat from in-person fraud, which is the only fraud that could potentially be stopped by ID laws, the State of Pennsylvania failed to show evidence for the justification of their law. Instead, this will go down as another GOP effort that ended up in the “unconstitutional” trash heap.
There IS a great likelihood that fraud exists in our electoral system. Most people have heard of or known places where all kinds of stories are heard about how the dead vote, how people vote multiple times, ballot box stuffing, and all other kinds of shenanigans. As I’ve said before, there is room for improving the security of the voting system. These cut-n-paste Voter ID laws, however, are simply a solution looking for a problem. They are not the way we need to go about securing the vote.
As with any system, the result you get is dependent upon the quality of your beginning product. Instead of focusing on showing IDs at the polls, the focus should be on ensuring the accuracy of the voting rolls themselves. If the rolls are not accurate, then anything else beyond that point is already compromised.
In their zeal to maintain majority status in states and hopefully achieve majority status in D.C., conservatives appear to have hitched their wagons on limiting the votes of the opposition party instead of trying to win the voters over. When you have to resort to tactics such as this, that should be a huge, blinking, red warning light to tell you that you need to look at your policies and how they affect the very people who you want to vote for you. One of the downfalls of being a true conservative in the classical sense is that you are hesitant of change and choose to try to keep things the same as much as possible. Therefore, change is your natural enemy. In today’s society, change is inevitable, especially considering the advancement in technology and such.
If the idea is to ensure the validity and security of a fair and free election, then the idea is the right one to shoot for. If the plan of attack to achieve that idea is to rely on the Voter ID laws as they are being passed, then that is the wrong plan of attack. The right to vote is protected by several amendments in the Constitution, so that is not one right you can just trample for the sake of things. A well thought out, all-encompassing legislative plan is what it will take to achieve the idea of valid and secure elections, if that truly is the intended goal. Something, and some people, lead me to believe that the goal lies elsewhere.