The fight over Pennsylvania's new voter identification law is in the early stages of intensifying. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the initial briefs in a legal challenge to keep the law from being put in place in time for the November election, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pennsylvania is contending that identification that meets the criteria set forth by the law is easily available to residents of the Keystone State, which means that no voters are unnecessarily targeted or disenfranchise any voters, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Unless the courts acts to suspend the law, Pennsylvania voters will need to present proper photo identification in order to vote in the presidential election.
What forms of identification are allowed under the new law?
Currently a photo ID issued by the military, state, or federal government are valid at the polls; however, photo identification from colleges and nursing homes with expiration dates are also valid in order to cast a vote, according to the Post-Gazette. In addition, anyone without any of those forms of ID can apply for a state voter identification card from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation with just their social security number and two documents, such as utility bills, proving their address.
What is the basis of the ACLU lawsuit?
The ACLU lawyers are suing on behalf of 10 Pennsylvania residents that do not have drivers ' licenses and believe the new law violates the state Constitution by depriving them of their right to vote, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The new law could prevent close to a million voters from placing votes, according to the Los Angeles Times.
What are lawyers for the state arguing?
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, state attorneys are arguing that the law has given voters plenty of time to get their identification in order. However, any lack of voters at the polls could be a huge issue in Pennsylvania, as there about a half-million fewer registered voters this year than in 2008, according to the Associated Press.
Is voter fraud a big issue in Pennsylvania?
Another point the ACLU seeks to make to the court is the lack of any evidence whatsoever of the type of voter-impersonation fraud the new law seeks to prevent, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, because without specific evidence the ACLU believes the new law has little significant merit.
Have other states enacted voter identification legislation?
Similar voter identification measures in Texas, South Carolina, and Wisconsin have already been blocked by the United States Justice Department or state judges, which does not put the Pennsylvania law on firm ground, according to the Los Angeles Times.
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.