NC SBE Ignores Voters, Approves Touchscreens: 'BradCast' 8/23/19
Ransomware Attacks in 22 TX Cities Before 2020: 'BradCast' 8/22/19
GOP 'Political Malware' as NC Elections Begin: 'BradCast' 8/21/19
Domestic Shootings by White Men Prevented: 'BradCast' 8/20/19
Petition to Recall AK's GOP Guv Catches Fire: 'BradCast' 8/19/19
Election Software Obsolete, Servers Found Online: 'BradCast' 8/16/19
JUDGE BANS GA'S OLD TOUCHSCREEN SYSTEMS: 'BradCast' 8/15/19
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'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...
Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...
DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...
Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
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ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
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FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...
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EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
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MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...
Plaintiffs vow to appeal ruling by Republican judge as 1.6 million legal votes said to be imperiled by new law this November...
UPDATED: Plaintiffs filed formal notice of appeal...
By Brad Friedman
on 8/15/2012, 12:02pm PT
A state court has upheld the state constitutionality of the new Republican-enacted polling place Photo ID restriction law in Pennsylvania which critics say may imperil the votes of more than a million legally registered voters in the Keystone State this November.
In his 70-page ruling [PDF] issued today, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson acknowledged that the plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU and other civil rights organizations, "did an excellent job of 'putting a face' to those burdened by the voter ID requirement," but failed to demonstrate "facial unconstitutionality". The judge did not rule on the merits of the case, but on whether or not it could be enjoined by the court.
That, despite the fact that:
- The Pennsylvania state Constitution guarantees that "Every citizen 21 years of age [lowered to 18 years of age by the twenty-sixth amendment to the U.S. Constitution]...shall be entitled to vote at all elections," subject to certain restrictions by the General Assembly as to who may register to vote.
- Independent studies have determined that some 1.6 million otherwise eligible voters in PA, including nearly a million in Democratic-leaning Philadelphia alone, may lack an unexpired state-issued driver's license by this November's Presidential election, which is just 83 days away.
- The state admitted, before the trial even began, that they were unaware of any "investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania"; that they "are not aware of any incidents of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania and do not have direct personal knowledge of in person voter fraud elsewhere"; and that the state would offer no evidence at the trial "that in person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absence of the Photo ID law."
- The Republican Secretary of the Commonwealth, charged with implementing the law, admitted on the stand that she does not "know what the law says."
- The Republican Governor who signed the bill, and lied about "voter fraud" in the state, does not even know what type of ID would now be eligible for voting under the new restrictions.
- The Republican House Majority Leader admitted that the bill, passed in the state legislature without a single Democratic vote, was meant to "allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania" this year.
- During the trial, as described by plaintiffs, "[S]tate officials admitted they underestimated the number of registered voters without acceptable photo ID, admitted the law will disenfranchise voters, admitted the law will hold different voters to different standards, admitted voters casting an absentee ballot will be able to vote without ID."
Given all of the above, following the close of the trial, the plaintiffs had predicted a "slam dunk" ruling in their favor. We had also predicted that the law was likely to "go down in flames."
We're still reviewing the opinion of Judge Simpson, who is a Republican, and will have a more detailed analysis of the specifics of his ruling in the coming days.
Plaintiffs have already vowed to appeal the case to the state Supreme Court, where four votes will be needed to overturn the Commonwealth Court's ruling. Currently, there is a 3-3 Republican/Democratic split on the high court, as the 7th jurist, a Republican, has stepped aside for the moment pending a corruption investigation. If the state Supreme Court splits on the verdict, Simpson's ruling would hold. Though, depending on how the state Supremes decide, and if federal rulings are a part of whatever decision they may make, it is possible the plaintiffs could later take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court in the event that the state Supreme Court fails to overturn the lower court's verdict.
Separately, the U.S. Dept. of Justice has opened it's own investigation of the law to determine whether or not it may be in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and/or the U.S. Constitution's Equal Protection clause. They may decide to file their own federal case to block the law in the weeks ahead.
UPDATE 8/18/12: On Aug. 16 plaintiffs filed a formal notice of appeal. Once the opening brief is available, The BRAD BLOG will furnish a detailed analysis of that appeal in the context of the rationale applied by Simpson, along with an assessment of the alternative litigation which the U.S. Department of Justice could potentially file in U.S. District Court.
UPDATE 9/4/12: The plaintiffs have now filed their appeal to the PA Supreme Court. Our legal analyst Ernest Canning details their appeal and some of the absurdities they point out in the original ruling by the Commonwealth Court judge right here...
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Reader comments follow below ad...
READER COMMENTS ON
"JUDGE UPHOLDS STATE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF GOP PHOTO ID VOTING RESTRICTIONS IN PA"
(11 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 8/15/2012 @ 12:50 pm PT...
It does happen quite a lot that a court at one level is constrained to accept rules that a higher court can happily shred.
So as annoying as this is, it isn't necessarily wrong as far as the judge doing his job.
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 8/15/2012 @ 1:00 pm PT...
People, realize anyone can scare you or wax eloquent with words, but it is the mental intent behind the words that will have the biggest effect on your life...if you let it.
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 8/15/2012 @ 1:16 pm PT...
Seriously, when billions of dollars sre being spent to distort and confuse...there's something WRONG with the delivery system! Take public airwaves back, so they work for the general public again, and not corporations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 8/15/2012 @ 1:34 pm PT...
Especially when those billions are used to spend trillions on war mongering and fear state apparatus. Immoral airport scanners anyone?
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 8/15/2012 @ 1:41 pm PT...
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 8/15/2012 @ 1:44 pm PT...
Under the thunder of the present U.S. Supreme Court, never challenge a statute on its face alone, always add another count to challenge it as applied.
Almost never bring such a case in a state court where judges are elected either, take it to the federal court under the voting rights act, 14th amendment, and other federal issues.
The state law issues can also be litigated under the doctrine of pendent jurisdiction.
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 8/15/2012 @ 3:18 pm PT...
The right for all Americans to vote is the heart of a democracy. What the republicans are doing to try to win this election is a direct path to a totalitarian nation. They talk about the constitution, but it means nothing to them. They are hungry for power.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 8/15/2012 @ 5:02 pm PT...
It is my understanding that evidence was presented that some voters who were born out of state, but not in a hospital (yes folks, that still happens!) were unable to obtain any record of a registered birth although they are obviously American citizens. Without the birth certificate, they will not be able to get a government issued i.d. This is direct evidence of this law disinfranchising an otherwise eligible voter. Evidence of the loss of the voting rights of just ONE American voter should be sufficient evidence to stop the law. What happened to the Right's glorification of Constitutional rights? I have never seen a court so dismissive of overwhelming evidence of the clear and baseless impediment to exercising a constitutional right. Politics at its worst.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 8/15/2012 @ 5:17 pm PT...
"Every citizen 21 years of age...shall be entitled to vote at all elections,"
What happened to 18?
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 8/16/2012 @ 6:03 am PT...
I've posted a detailed summary of the decision here, for anyone interested.
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
said on 8/16/2012 @ 6:51 am PT...
Wow FREEANDEQUAL,thank you!
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