Thursday, August 16, 2012

Responses to Voter ID Decision

The following statements arrived via email today, in response to the Commonwealth Court decision upholding the Voter ID law:

Will Sylianteng, Democratic candidate for 151st state house district:

I was deeply disappointed this morning when I learned of the Commonwealth Court’s decision to uphold the Voter ID law. This legislation was recklessly passed by the Republican leadership in Harrisburg with the support of Representative Stephens, despite the fact that 3,322 residents in the 151st District will be at risk of losing their inalienable right to vote. 2,081 of these voters will be women who may have difficulty being permitted to vote because of changes between their maiden and marital names on their identification.

It is a sad state of affairs that the Court has ruled in such a way, as the Republicans in Harrisburg seek to misuse their power by systematically weakening and dismantling democracy in Pennsylvania instead of protecting it.

Millions of our taxpayer dollars are being wasted to implement this unnecessary and unjust law – money that could be better spent dealing with real issues like education and job creation and solving real problems such as infrastructure development and repair. This Voter ID law is seriously flawed, politically-motivated, fiscally irresponsible, and a dangerous piece of legislation that should not be allowed to stand.

One of the reasons I am running for State Representative is because I feel the 151st district deserves better leadership than we have been receiving. We deserve a voice in Harrisburg who won’t just follow the party bosses by voting for bad legislation which hurts honest, hard-working Pennsylvanians. We have an opportunity to change the way Harrisburg is being run, and I plan to be fighting on behalf of the constituents of my district against the powerful forces which have little concern for our interests.”

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder expressed their disappointment with Commonwealth Court Judge Simpson’s decision to deny an injunction of the Voter Suppression Act.  However this is a preliminary decision not the final decision in the case. 
“We are disappointed that Judge Simpson denied the request to enjoin the Voter Suppression Act.  However this is a preliminary decision in the early stages and not the final decision on whether the law denies the people their constitutional right to vote.  He did not make a ruling on the merits of the case or the Constitutional challenge to the law itself. We are confident that the case will be rapidly appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for a review of this intermediate decision on the injunction question and a review of the merits of the case as well,” Bloomingdale said.
“In the meantime we will continue to do what thousands of activists and volunteers did in the Jim Crow South in fighting and defeating poll taxes and other attempts to deny people their right to vote. We will fight to make sure that the people have the right to vote in this major election that will decide the future of our state and nation,” Bloomingdale said.
“We never stopped doing what we do, which is, educating and mobilizing our members on all of the issues, and ensuring every Pennsylvanian has the right to vote, to make sure their voice is heard. Our goal is record high voter turnout in spite of the fact that this law was passed to discourage people from exercising their right to vote,” Snyder added.

Sharon Ward, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC), issued a statement in the wake of Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson’s ruling on the state’s Voter ID Law:
“We’re disappointed by the ruling and again urge the Corbett administration to take a step back and delay implementation of this law until the commonwealth can ensure that every voter who needs an ID can obtain one,” Ward said. “That has not been the experience of many voters to date.” 

Earlier this month, PBPC issued a report that detailed barriers faced by Pennsylvanians seeking photo ID required to vote in the fall election. Volunteers conducted 47 visits to 43 PennDOT licensing centers (serving nearly three-fourths of the state’s population) to observe how the Voter ID Law was being implemented. Volunteers found a lack of signage and accurate information on obtaining a photo ID for voting. In addition, volunteers in three out of 10 visits were told incorrectly that they would have to pay $13.50 to obtain an ID. Learn more at

“Our report is based on first-hand observations and voter experiences. It is clear that the commonwealth is just not prepared to ensure voters have the ID they will need to participate in this election,” Ward said.

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Cindy Bass:

“As many Philadelphians are today, I am disappointed by the ruling by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania to deny an injunction against the photo identification requirement ahead of this November’s election,” said 8th District Councilwoman Cindy Bass. “This detrimental law will disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters across the Commonwealth and the City.”

“While this decision is troubling, my office and I are committed to protecting each Philadelphian’s right to vote,” Bass continued. “We will continue working with my colleagues in Council and various groups to educate voters and ensure that those who need acceptable identification will have it by Election Day.”


“Pennsylvania Republicans are trying to steal the election for Mitt Romney by disenfranchising nearly 58,000 voters in the 8th Congressional District and an estimated 1.6 million voters state-wide,” said Michael Eagle, District Director of CREDO SuperPAC.  “While we are disappointed with the Commonwealth Court’s decision today, we are committed to building a large-scale grassroots movement that will inform voters of the new law and work hard to ensure that eligible voters who want to vote out Tea Party Republicans like Rep. Fitzpatrick this November are not disenfranchised by this Republican scheme to steal the election.”

Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn:
Pennsylvania Democrats are committed to protecting Pennsylvanians' right to vote, and we will continue to educate voters about the new ID requirements and the process to acquire an appropriate ID to ensure that all eligible voters can get to the polls and exercise their right to vote in November. For months, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party has implemented programs designed to ensure Pennsylvanians have the proper identification and we will continue our work as the legal process unfolds.

No comments: