President’s Message – August 2013

The Photo ID saga in Pennsylvania continues. After the second summer of court room testimony, this past Thursday, August 1, 2013 it was determined by Judge Bernard McGinley not to implement Pennsylvania’s voter ID law in the November 2013 election. “The temporary injunction would hold and we await the Commonwealth’s full court decision on whether the law is constitutional.” The state attorney general’s office agreed to extend a temporary injunction before the start of closing arguments in a two-week-long trial in Commonwealth Court. All details of this agreement have not been completely worked out.

One thing we know for certain, without the lawsuit challenging this law, there would never have been all the legislative amendments applied to correct some of the numerous problems created by the law. We also can be certain in realizing that the confusion created for voters and poll workers across the state contributed to deepen distrust and discouraged voting participation. Distrust in the system – confusion about the why and how of restrictive voting requirements – accusations of fraud, laziness and phony reasons for experiencing difficulty complying with the law’s requirements, led to further division among voters and to heightened levels of disenfranchisement. That is not who we are or who we want to become. Voting is not a privilege, it is a right! It was a privilege for me to provide testimony for our League!

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