Minnesota, of course, is not the only state debating Voter ID, which would require people to show a valid ID when they vote. But what’s happening in other states certainly frames the debate here, too, especially in states where the law has recently passed and is being tried for the first time.
In Pennsylvania, a state judge today has refused to toss the Voter ID law in a case that includes almost all of the reasons on both sides of the issue in Minnesota.
In a post on the blog, Above the Law, Elie Mystal points out why the rush is on to strike down the law before it is employed:
This was always the brilliance of the Republican push for these voter ID laws. They’ve been perfectly timed to get them through this election. By the time this issue is ripe for judicial review, the votes will already have been counted. If the GOP is right and this kind of suppression really does influence the outcome of the election, well, they’ll have their victory long before courts start unpacking which individuals were disenfranchised.
Pretty lucky that the threat of voter fraud only became a big GOP issue in the run-up to the 2012 Presidential election, isn’t it?
Of course, the game isn’t over. Simpson says that the photo ID requirement has a “plainly legitimate sweep,” and I’d imagine that contention will be attacked on appeal, seeing as there is no evidence that voter fraud occurs at any significant level, or that a photo ID requirement would stop the de minimis fraud that allegedly takes place.
But Simpson’s ruling should be another good reminder to everybody who wants a second crack of political battles through the courts: it’s a lot easier to prevent a law from being passed than it is to get one overturned.
Some of the people who sued to overturn the law say they will not be able to get a state ID in Pennsylvania because they can’t obtain a birth certificate, according to the Associated Press.
Here’s a copy of the judge’s decision: