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The Republican-sponsored voter ID law purports to protect against voter fraud and boost confidence in the electoral process. Neither of these aims is advanced by this constitutionally unsupportable legislation. The commonwealth has conceded that there is no voter fraud problem to be remedied. Further, the rush to implement the law before the November election will unquestionably disenfranchise countless numbers of eligible voters, with the greatest impact on society's most vulnerable.
Indeed, Rep. Mike Turzai has acknowledged that the law was designed to guarantee Mitt Romney's victory in Pennsylvania. Motivation that is purely political is never an acceptable basis to deny qualified voters the opportunity to cast a ballot for their candidate of choice.
Although I have proudly voted in every election for 40 years, and I possess a driver's license, I fear that I will be denied my right to vote in this election because my voter registration and driver's license do not match (one has a middle initial and one has a middle name). Recently, I renewed my license and asked that it include only my middle initial, but I was told that such a "name change" would require me to present either a birth certificate or passport. Both documents cost money to obtain and take time to acquire, perhaps longer than the 40 days remaining before the election. The clerk could only say that I "probably" would not have a problem.
However, I should not have to rely on probabilities. As a qualified voter, I am entitled to know that my fundamental right to vote will be honored. I, and many others, will be reassured only if the court properly enjoins implementation of a law with the potential to cause irreparable harm to thousands of Pennsylvanians.
First Published September 28, 2012 12:00 am