Applaud Pennsylvania Judge for Putting Voter ID Law On Hold

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Target: Pennsylvania Judge Robert Simpson

Goal: Support judicial decision to postpone putting voter ID law into effect until after the election

In Pennsylvania, the implementation of a new controversial law that requires the presentation of specific photographic identification in order to vote has been postponed until after the general election. Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson has ruled that Pennsylvania authorities have not done enough to help voters acquire the particular documents necessary to vote. The new law has faced criticism that it unjustly disenfranchises minorities, students, the elderly, and veterans. Judge Simpson’s decision, in the face of the upcoming election, deserves to be recognized.

Having upheld the law in August amidst challenges from liberal and civil rights groups, Judge Simpson’s new ruling is based on his assessment that “liberal access” to the necessary photo IDs had not been ensured. Pennsylvania is hardly alone in this legislative struggle—11 other states have passed similar laws. Yet, Pennsylvania’s significance lies in its swing state status in the upcoming election. In all 11 states, voter ID laws were passed by Republican-dominated legislatures and, in Pennsylvania specifically, without any Democratic support.

Supporters of the law see it as a way to prevent voter fraud yet have failed to provide much evidence that voter fraud is in fact a legitimate problem.  Furthermore, Pennsylvania Republican State Representative Mike Turzai said at a Republican event that the new law would guarantee Governor Mitt Romney wins Pennsylvania. Such confidence most likely came from the belief that, should the poor and minority groups—two demographics unlikely to possess the necessary voter ID—be unable to vote, President Obama would lose two typically pro-Democrat support bases.

Clearly, Judge Simpson’s decision was not made in a politically neutral environment. His courageous action deserves support. Thank him for protecting all Pennsylvanians’ right to vote.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Judge Robert Simpson,

Thank you for postponing the implementation of the new voter identification law in Pennsylvania. By recognizing the fact that many important demographics have been unable to acquire the necessary ID, you have protected all Pennsylvanians’ right to vote.

I appreciate your fair and balanced application of the law in Pennsylvania and hope you will continue to protect and ensure the rights of all of the state’s citizens.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: hjl via Flickr

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