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Commonwealth Court Judge halts Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law in November 6 election – Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai’s effort met with setback  

 

Civil Rights Leaders, Congressional Black Caucus’ Chairman applaud decision

By Juanita Bratcher

 

About three months ago, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, at a Republican State Committee meeting, confidently and arrogantly declared that Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law would allow Republican Candidate Mitt Romney a win in the State of Pennsylvania.

Pointing out his legislative accomplishments, Voter ID being one of them, Turzai told Committee members that with Voter ID, winning the state was a “done” deal for Romney.

Said Turzai: “Voter ID, which is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennyslvania: done.”

Turzai’s well-laid out plans were crushed yesterday when a federal judge halted the Voter ID law to take place in the November 6 election.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson delayed the implementation of the law until after the November 6 election. He agreed with opponents of the measure that requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls could disenfranchise some voters, although Republicans said the law was put in place to prevent voter fraud. Voters can be asked for photo ID but cannot be barred from voting without it.

“I’m still not convinced in my predictive judgment that there will be no voter disenfranchisement,” wrote Simpson.

Civil rights groups and the American Civil Liberties Union had asked the courts that the law be blocked. Reportedly, about 9.2 percent – 758,000 voters – would have been affected by the law and could have been barred from voting, and that Pennsylvania might lag – time wise – to process all new IDs before the November 6 election.

The Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and Leaders of both the NAACP and the National Urban League called it a major victory for civil rights.

Benjamin Todd Jealous, President & CEO of the NAACP, in a prepared statement said the “Ruling is a victory for the Pennsylvania voter. On November 6, voters will no longer need to produce an identification to ensure that their vote is counted. As we look towards 2013, the Pennsylvania NAACP will take this battle from the courts to the legislature. We are confident that this state will not tolerate voter suppression.”

Also, Jerome Mondesire, President of the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference, in a prepared statement said “The ruling today is encouraging for all Pennsylvanians. Unfortunately, it is a decision that should have been made a long time ago. With 35 days left until Election Day, the state must work with the NAACP and other leading organizations to limit voter confusion. We will work to ensure that poll workers do not wrongly enforce the law, and that all counties are monitored on Election Day.”

In a press statement, the National Urban League said Pennsylvania Voter ID Injunction was a major victory for civil rights. It reads as follows:

Today’s Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruling to delay implementation of the state’s discriminatory voter ID law is a lesson to those who seek to change the rules of the game for their own political ends, National Urban League President Marc H. Morial.

“We are heartened by the Court’s ruling, which confirms our long-held view that Pennsylvania’s ID law was always unworkable—at best.” Morial said. “The Court has unambiguously held that the state cannot use voter ID requirements in a way that would disenfranchise citizens.
 
“However, we remain concerned about the eventual implementation of the law, and whether it will be used to disenfranchise historically vulnerable citizens including seniors, people of color and young people,” Morial said. “Pennsylvania officials not only failed to produce evidence of voter impersonation, they conceded that they know of no examples, so it’s clear the intent of the law was not to remedy any existing fraud.

“As Pennsylvania’s House Majority Leader indicated, the law was passed to boost the chances of one Presidential candidate over another,” Morial said. “We will continue to oppose any effort to deny the right to vote to any eligible citizen, whether in a Presidential election year or any other.”

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver’s statement follows:

“Today brought another victory for those committed to protecting the right to vote for all Americans. Pennsylvania now joins Texas, Ohio and other states across the country in recognizing that requiring citizens to obtain a voter ID places an undue and excessive burden on eligible voters, mostly from minority communities, that is difficult to overcome.

“While we should be implementing policies that remove obstacles to greater participation in our democracy, these proposed voter ID laws created additional ones. I am pleased Judge Simpson blocked the provision that would have required Pennsylvania voters to show an ID at the polls and I look forward to full resignation of the proposed law.

“I would also like to commend the people of Pennsylvania who, in spite of the difficulties reported, waited hours at local DMVs to complete the documents required to ensure they will be prepared vote this fall. Their commitment to exercising their right in the face of efforts to take it away is a testament to the plight of Americans who came before them, bled and died so no one would be turned away at the polls.

“The Congressional Black Caucus remains opposed to any effort in this country that suppresses its voters and that disenfranchises its citizens. We applaud today’s decision and will continue our vocal disapproval of these discriminatory and unjust laws.”

“There should never be barriers set-up to stop people from exercising their constitutional right to vote in this country,” said Juanita Bratcher, Editor & Publisher of www.copylinemagazine.com. “We cannot and will not go back to the dark era of yesteryear when certain citizens could not vote in this country. We must fight tooth and nail, every step of the way, to extinguish efforts by some who would try to disenfranchise voters’ constitutional right to the ballot box. I urge all American voters to participate in the electoral process and vote for the candidate (s) of their choice.”

Juanita Bratcher is the Publisher of www.copylinemagazine.com, the author of several books, songwriter and poet. She has been a Journalist for more than 35 years covering politics, education and a wide-range of other topics. 

  

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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