Yesterday a Pennsylvania appellate judge upheld the state's misconceived voter ID law, and by "misconceived" I mean slightly more poorly conceived than a drive-thru colonoscopy.
The law requires voters to present a state-issued photo ID at the polls when voting. Longtime readers of this blog will remember the chum bath I had to take to get a Pennsylvania drivers license a couple of years ago, but everyone else can find a summary of the ridiculous process now standing between PA residents and their constitutional right to vote in Kara Vallow's excellent blog post about the law.
Keep in mind that I had all that trouble getting my state ID while not only being independently mobile and Internet savvy but also having a 100% clear schedule and some disposable income. So imagine what's in store for people like my 90-year-old grandmother in Monongahela, Pa, who can't leave her apartment building without aid.
Luckily her polling place is less than 500 feet from her home. Of course that won't do her any good, because she's never had a driver's license, so first someone has to haul all 89 pounds of her eight miles to the closest PennDot office to get a photo ID. They'll also need to wait in line with her and help her fill out the forms. They might not want to bother though, because filling out the forms would be mostly useless, since Grandma probably didn't bring along her birth certificate with a raised seal, unless she's managed to keep track of it since 1922. So no voting for Grandma Madej. Ironically, my grandmother is a devout Catholic and likely would vote for some of the candidates that Governor Tom Corbett and the Republican state legislature were trying to help win by passing the law preventing people like her from voting in the first place.1
So, Pennsylvanians, that's what's happening in your state -- the birthplace of American democracy, the Keystone State, the second state in the Union. The recent judge's ruling doesn't bode well for this year's election, but there's still hope the law will be overturned through appeal. A better solution would be to have state officials change their minds. So if you're in Pennsylvania, or have family who is, maybe give Governor Tom a call (717-787-2500) along with your state representative and/or your state senator and tell them to repeal the voter ID law. I called on behalf of my grandmother. This is us:
- Full disclosure: There's a chance my grandmother already has a state-issued photo ID. I doubt it, but either way you get the point I'm making. [↩]