Judge Robert Simpson, the same Pennsylvania judge who earlier this year upheld the Keystone State’s new voter ID law, has now put it on ice until after the Nov. 6 election.
After his initial ruling, the plaintiffs made an expedited appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. That court upheld the law over the dissents of two justices, but the majority also flagged several items for concern and instructed Simpson to resolve those matters. In doing so, Simpson concluded that there were insufficient assurances that all eligible voters could obtain IDs in time.
Although there is still time for an emergency appeal back to Pennsylvania’s high court, the reality is such a move would prove unavailing. After all, it was that court that ordered the second hearing for more rigorous review, resulting in the current hold. And voters must register by Oct. 9 for Election Day.
Nonetheless, setting aside the new law for this year’s crucial election is unnecessary. It’s true that this legislation was signed into law by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in March, so there hasn’t been a lot of extra time for citizens to comply. Still, it doesn’t take too much effort to obtain what this law requires if unlike most Pennsylvanians you lack any form if ID this law allows.
And under HAVA (the Help America Vote Act of 2002), even if a voter does not identification to show they are who they claim to be before casting a vote that impacts the future of our country, they can still cast a provisional ballot and then have a number of days after the election to go to the appropriate local officials to establish their identity and have their vote counted. The ID law would not mean anyone’s vote would not be counted; it just means voting would not be effortless. As a citizen, they might have to go to a little extra effort to shape the destiny of our nation.
The modern Democratic Party is up in arms against such measures, saying they are a form of voter suppression, implying that in our society of instant gratification our civic duty should be easy or we should not have to do it at all. How far that party has departed from one of its iconic figures, President John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.”
I wonder what those Pennsylvanians objecting to their voter ID law would say to JFK if he uttered those words today.