Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Struck Down
Pennsylvania’s controversial Voter ID requirement was struck down today. Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley, who ruled the requirement unconstitutional, described the law as “invalid and unconstitutional on its face, as the provision and issuance of compliant identification does not comport with liberal access and unreasonably burdens the right to vote.”
He went on to say that “Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election; the Voter ID Law does not further this goal.”
McGinley said that the state failed to make the process of obtaining a legal ID easy and expedient enough for Pennsylvanians.
“The measure was unconstitutional and clearly political and could not stand legal scrutiny,” said State Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny) in a statement released by the Democratic Communications Office. “Simply put, it was an effort by the Republicans to deny citizens across this commonwealth access and a voice in their government.”
Costa went on to say that the state should be doing more to increase voter participation, rather than cause disenfranchisement. He encouraged Republicans not to appeal McGinley’s decision.
“Instead of trying to find ways to stop citizens from voting, we should be doing more to encourage all Pennsylvanians to have the opportunity to participate in our electoral process.”
It should be noted that although the voter ID law was hotly contested, it was never actually in effect during an election because of ongoing legal disputes.
The burden of proof was on supporters of the law to demonstrate that in-person voter fraud presented a threat to the legitimacy of elections.
“Certainly a vague concern about voter fraud does not rise to a level that justifies the burdens constructed here,” McGinley said, ruling that supporters of the law failed to meet that burden.