Pennsylvania court finds some perspective.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has examined the photo ID law proposed and passed by the Republicans of the state.  They are now asking the question of whether or not the best way to handle the microscopic problem of voter fraud is measure that create the much more serious problem of disenfranchising gaggles of American voters.

The Republican party was playing dumb on that question, but it’s looking like the courts aren’t going to let them.

The Supreme Court ordered per curiam—meaning unsigned by the six justices—that the Commonwealth Court must re-examine the implementation of certain provisions of the law. Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson, who ruled in August in favor of the law, must decide if the way the state presently administers free photo voter ID cards to those who can’t get regular state-issued id cards is in compliance with the law—something the state already conceded in court that it doesn’t, and can’t for good reasons…

But the important thing about the higher court’s ruling, as Pennsylvania ACLU legal director Vic Walczak told reporters yesterday, is that civil rights lawyers no longer have to show and prove that the law is burdensome. Instead, the state has to prove the law’s current implementation won’t lead to disenfranchisement of any voters. Meaning the numbers that have been flung around about whether 100,000 or 1 million voters don’t have ID are now hardly relevant—if one voter will be disenfranchised, then the law can’t stand for November.


Tell ‘em all about it, fake news (or listen to Sarah Silverman’s take if you appreciate swearing as much as I do).

(Via Ed Brayton)

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Gordon

    I wish she were my Jewish friend Sarah. I think she’s great.

  • Baal

    I have mixed feelings on ‘per curiam’ rulings. It’s the legal equivalent of ‘don’t blame me for it.’ That’s sometimes good, like in this case where the justices might have been ‘primaried’ on their next election if they signed the opinion.

  • ButchKitties

    Voter fraud is incredibly rare. Not only that, but the most common form of this incredibly rare phenomenon is votes cast by convicted felons who have not had their voting rights restored. Voter ID laws do exactly nothing to prevent this.

    • Amyc

      I don’t think there should be laws preventing convicted felons from voting. Once they served their time, we shouldn’t then disenfranchise them even more. They already can’t get govn’t funding for housing or school in most states. If the only voter “fraud” going on is convicted felons reclaiming their right to vote, then I have no problem with it.

  • John Horstman

    Finally!!! That is the proper framing – while a lack of ID laws could conceivably allow for some measure of voter fraud, preventing the larger disenfranchisement that results from ID laws is the more important issue. There is no perfect solution (at least not at the moment), so given the low (possibly zero) incidence of fraud, it’s pretty clear what the proper course is.