Voter ID Requirement Eased for 2012 Presidential Election

A Republican judge relaxed the requirement for all registered voters to have State issued ID in the upcoming election.  There had been a number of outreach efforts arranged by State Representatives like Harold James of the 18th District.  I attended a Rally sponsored by State Senator Anthony Williams and was interviewed by Channel 10's Monique Braxton.  I did not think that the Republicans were going to relent on this requirement.

The basis for implementing the law is unclear.  Instances of voter fraud were few and far between in national and local elections.  Republicans here utilized a quick legislative ploy that was signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett.  In fact the poster child for legislative abuse was John Perzel.  He utilized state workers and software to track voting patterns and get out the vote efforts.  He denied wrongdoing until he was indicted.  Jane Orie was a Republican judge from Allegheny county who was also indicted for using state staffers to do political work in violation of ethics laws.  We had a Democrat of note, also, who violated the public trust, Vince Fumo, but that's another story.

Republicans were also being swayed by recent polls showing that President Obama was leading Mitt Romney.  Democrats were being energized by what they perceived to be an attempt to unfairly disfranchise seniors and those without driver's licenses.  It was similar to the excitement generated by the President's first run in 2008.  Why make it more difficult to exercise a right that was not being abused?  Mike Turzai, a Republican who predicted that the Voter ID law would cause Mitt Romney to win Pennsylvania, is understandably upset at the recent ruling.  No registered voter can be turned away from a polling place because of the lack of a picture ID. 

I am more concerned now about voter turnout in the upcoming election.  During the mot recent elections in Philadelphia, which included races for Mayor,City Council, State Representatives and row offices, voter turnout amounted to approximately 20%.  This number is particularly galling when we realize the amount of blood and tears it actually took to get the right to vote.  The pressure and demonstrations against this law worked in this upcoming election.  The law is not abolished though.  I hope that voters will continue the push to get valid ID for future elections.  Also, even if it is a rainy day, more that 20% of registered voters need to participate in our democratic process called voting. 

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