The Keystone State is coming under fire on a few different topics surrounding the coming fall election. According to The Huffington Post, the new Pennsylvania voter ID law, which requires voters to show valid photo identification before casting a vote, could negatively affect more than 750,000 Pennsylvania voters. Plus, Project Vote is reporting that two groups have filed a lawsuit claiming that Pennsylvania has not complied with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 that mandates that all public assistance agencies offer voter registration services.
Who filed the lawsuit against Pennsylvania and what are the concerns?
According to the Associated Press, the lawsuit was filed by Action United and the Black Political Empowerment Project and named Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett's secretaries of health, public welfare, and elections. The basis of the lawsuit is that Pennsylvania public assistance offices received around 4,000 voter registration applications during 2009 and 2010 compared to nearly 60,000 in 1995 and 1996. Since the number of people filing food stamp applications nearly doubled from one million to 1.8 million, the groups contend the drop off is significant.
Why was a lawsuit filed?
The two groups are trying to expedite the voter registration process due to the presidential election this fall, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The groups believe that the state needs to increase compliance with the NVRA, as spot checks by the groups involved with the lawsuit found no voter registration applications in Philadelphia or Allegheny County public assistance offices.
What is the lawsuit seeking?
The lawsuit is seeking a court approved plan for Pennsylvania to comply completely with the NVRA, according to Project Vote. Similar initiatives in two other states have managed to register an average of 16,000 voters per month in Ohio and 10,000 per month in Missouri, according to the Associated Press.
Will the Pennsylvania voter ID law be delayed for the fall election?
According to a press release endorsed by a number of organizations, including the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the League of Women Voters, and the Philadelphia AFL-CIO, about 100 groups and organizations across the Keystone State have signed on to ask the governor to delay the law until after the presidential election. The supporters of the delay are facing off with supporters of the new law and balancing the needs of close to one million Pennsylvania voters versus without valid photo identification against the desire to prevent fraud at the polls.
Jason Gallagher is a longtime Pennsylvania resident. He has experiences in trends and developments in many regions from having lived in many parts of the Keystone State, and currently resides in the Pittsburgh area.