by Clyde Weiss | August 16, 2012
“The law supposedly was intended to combat voter fraud, but even its supporters admit that there is scant evidence that fraud exists,” AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders said in response to the ruling by Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson.
“The law’s true purpose was revealed by a Republican legislator who bragged that it would allow presidential candidate Mitt Romney to ‘win the state’ by suppressing the votes of particular groups of voters. But all of us lose when any citizen is denied the right to have a say in our democracy. Opponents of the law are expected to appeal it to the state Supreme Court. We hope the justices will see it for what it is: an attempt to suppress the votes of minorities, the elderly, students and the poor.”
“Today is a sad day for all Pennsylvania voters,” added AFSCME Council 13 Exec. Dir. David Fillman. “Our opponents in this blatant attempt to steal a presidential election feel voting is not a fundamental right. I couldn’t disagree more.”
The law, passed by Republicans on as party-line vote in March, will especially hurt low-income minorities who often lack appropriate voter IDs. That’s especially troubling, given that studies have demonstrated that cases of voter fraud are almost non-existent.
The editorial board of the Philadelphia Inquirer said that if the judge’s decision is allowed to stand, “Pennsylvania will take a step backward in time to an era when the vote was not guaranteed to everyone.” Read the full editorial here.
The state Supreme Court will decide the ultimate fate of this dangerous law. Voter suppression laws like this are spreading throughout the country as corporate-backed lawmakers push their right-wing agendas. The consequence will be felt not only in those states, but nationally.
U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has vowed to be “aggressive” in challenging voting laws that restrict minority rights, and we hope that Pennsylvania’s high court justices will not give Holder reason to take action in the Keystone State, whose motto is “Virtue, Liberty, and Independence.”
The right to vote is a foundation of our liberty. Don’t let this law stand.