Political Animal


August 15, 2012 10:45 AM Bad News From PA

By Ed Kilgore

Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law, aimed, according to House GOP Leader Mike Turzai, at making it possible for Mitt Romney to win the state, has overcome its first legal hurdle, as Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson declined to granted an injunction blocking implementation of the law before November.

As Dave Weigel explains, securing relief from the law through the appeals process is at best iffy:

The ACLU will eventually take its case to the state Supreme Court, which (due to a scandal surrounding one member) is split 3-3, Democratic and Republican members. If the court splits on this law, the Simpson decision is reaffirmed.

So even if the law is ultimately struck down, it would still be in place for this election cycle. Pennsylvania’s Republicans have certainly fought hard for the designation of being America’s preeminent warriors against the right to vote.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Zorro on August 15, 2012 11:03 AM:

    It's over: PA will go for the GOP, and that will be the think that makes a Romney win possible, if not likely.


  • DarrellyqiBent on August 15, 2012 11:03 AM:

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  • stormskies on August 15, 2012 11:06 AM:

    Nice. So even though a majority of people in that state, according to all the polls, favor Obama by a pretty big majority this ruling/ law will allow the minority to 'win'.

    The problem with the current reality of Repiglicans is that they hate democracy. And now that they have managed to stack the court system over the last thirty years we now end up with a corrupt judicial system as well.

    This is exactly how Bush got installed as the president due to the corruption of the Repiglicans on what we euphemistically must call our "Supreme Court".

  • c u n d gulag on August 15, 2012 11:08 AM:

    When we finally ended apratheid with the signing of the Civil Rights Acts in the mid 1960s' we were finally the "go-to" nation on voting and holding free elections.

    We had finally earned the right to lecture the USSR, and South Africa, and the PRC, and Iraq, about their elections.

    Now, we're now no longer the "go-to" country to go to for free elections.

    Who will come and lecture us, the US, about OUR elections?
    Who will come here, like we used to go there, to insure fair and honest elections?

    This is immoral, amoral, and a disgrace.

    It is disgraceful what's been, being, and will be done, to this country by Conservatives.


  • c u n d gulag on August 15, 2012 11:10 AM:

    Speaking of disgraceful - nice job again, CRAPTCHA!

    CRAPTCHA is a comment suppressor.

    Not for shills and grifters, though.

    They can comment ALL they want.

  • Zorro on August 15, 2012 11:30 AM:

    Can we *please* stop calling the GOP "conservative?" Doesn't being conservative require a desire to, I dunno, actually want to conserve something?

    This bunch are bomb-throwing radicals at best, part of an apocalyptic death cult at worst.


  • James E. Powell on August 15, 2012 11:30 AM:

    The Republicans get away with this stuff because the Democrats don't fight for their own voters. The voters themselves don't appear to be all that concerned either.

    I read something that said that the total affected voters may amount to several hundred thousand. If several hundred thousand people in Pennsylvania wrote letters, made phone calls, complained to corporate press/media, you'd get different results. Not to mention if those several hundred thousand had bothered to vote in 2010, none of this would be happening.

  • stormskies on August 15, 2012 11:35 AM:

    Another frequent commentator here, forgot his name now, has often said this: "America is to stupid for Democracy".

    And once it's gone, at least what is left of it, those same stupid Americans will then blame everyone but themselves.

    United Stupid America indeed.

    USA ! USA ! USA !

  • Zorro on August 15, 2012 11:37 AM:

    Stormskies: that isn't precisely what I've frequently said, but you've got the basic gist of it.

    But at least some Americans are still bright enough to SPAM CAPTCHA-protected Websites

    USA. USA.

  • T2 on August 15, 2012 11:39 AM:

    I'm with James E. Powell, this ID scam only works if the Dems let it. And I don't mean taking it to various courts....I mean getting out and working to make sure voters vote..there are plenty PA Dem voters with ID's that may sit on their butts voting day pouting over this or that - they need quit whining and get out to vote.

  • latts on August 15, 2012 11:43 AM:

    Doesn't being conservative require a desire to, I dunno, actually want to conserve something?

    They always want to conserve entrenched and unearned privilege, although it's true that they've tipped over into regression/restoration over the past several years.

  • Peter C on August 15, 2012 11:48 AM:

    Thus, the efforts of the Republican party to stack the courts with ideologues has paid off. They've been positioning themselves for this sort of judicial coup for many, many years by gaming the appointment process.

    The election of 2010 gave Republicans a window of opportunity to rig the game for 2012. Now our job is harder; we have to win despite how the game is rigged.

    BUT WE CAN'T STOP THERE! When we win, we need to seize our window of opportunity to utterly reform election laws. We must completely eliminate paperless DRE machines. All ballots must have a voter-verified paper audit trail.

    There's been a pathetic pattern in recent years. When we win, we try to recapture an idyllic age when partisanship was a minor side issue and lawmakers honestly debated issues based on facts and a genuine desire to arrive at a mutually acceptable and workable solution which served the nation's best interests. When they win, the Republicans switch off our mikes, shunt us to the basement and ram through their agenda using any and all methods at their disposal. We're playing patty cake, and they are out to win at any cost. They've changed the paradigm and it's not going to change back. They don't want our buy-in; they want us exterminated.

  • jim on August 15, 2012 11:56 AM:

    If several hundred thousand PA voters are disenfranchised, and the election is as close as it was in 2000, it will get ugly.

  • Mimikatz on August 15, 2012 12:19 PM:

    This is just depressing. The State of PA barely put on a case and stipulated that there was no evidence of voter fraud. How can that justify restricting a fundamental right?

    It is now on the Dem Party to do it's own voter ID project and contact every potential voter to check whether they have ID and if not help them get it.

    Note if we can win this year with all these headwinds, they will really be set back.

  • JM917 on August 15, 2012 12:21 PM:

    @ jim:

    You're absolutely right. Worst-case scenario (for the United States): Romney wins the presidency by carrying "swing" states--Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida, for example--where legislature-decreed and court-sanctioned voter suppression made the crucial difference.

    There will--indeed, there SHOULD--be blood in the streets if that happens. For "We hold these truths to be self-evident... that, to secure these rights ['among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness'], governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government..."

  • Davis X. Machina on August 15, 2012 12:33 PM:

    There will--indeed, there SHOULD--be blood in the streets if that happens.

    In a fifty-fifty country, it's not going to happen. For too many people, it's their team winning, so there was no foul.

    Hell, I had Republicans tell me in 2000 that Bush deserved the Presidency because he cared enough to steal it, and that's the kind of toughness you need in a leader.

    Throw out your Federalist Papers , or flog them to an unsuspecting AP US History student. All you need to know to understand American politics is a big foam "We're #1" finger.

  • schtick on August 15, 2012 1:25 PM:

    We're sunk. We have finally made third world status. I really wish I could afford to move out of this tealiban country.
    I was hoping that after the elections the dimwit dems would control both houses of Congress and they would make an amendment that voting laws couldn't be changed in a major election year including purges. That they do this so close to election is proof they are doing it to get rid of dem votes and it all started in Florida in 2000. And Jeb will be running for president soon to finish the toilet flushing for sure now.

  • Anonymous on August 15, 2012 2:10 PM:

    The Pa courts are elected in partisan political elections. This trial judge is a Republican. Going the other way would have ended his career.

    And the Supreme Court is split 3-3 on partisan lines. They will vote on party lines and the decision will be upheld.

    There's some possibility that the US Dept of Justice will intervene but when have you seen the Obama admin do anything to hinder Republican obstructionism?

  • kim on August 15, 2012 5:13 PM:

    Can Eric Holder step in? How is this different that Florida?

  • Davis X. Machina on August 15, 2012 9:10 PM:

    Can Eric Holder step in? How is this different that Florida?

    By acting statewide, Scott's actions impact some of the counties affected in Florida covered under Section 5, the pre-clearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act.

    PA is not so covered.