Pennsylvania civil rights coalition appeals ruling in voter ID case
August 17th, 2012
09:55 PM ET
2 years ago

Pennsylvania civil rights coalition appeals ruling in voter ID case

(CNN) – A coalition of Pennsylvania civil rights groups filed an appeal Thursday to overturn a judge's ruling that upheld a controversial voter identification law.

The appeal seeks to prevent the law, which requires voters to present a state issued photo ID, from being enforced in November's election, said American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania associate director Sara Mullen.

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The law, upheld last week, has been met with fierce opposition by those who claim it discriminates against minorities who may not have proper identification. Proponents of the law, however, argue it helps to fight fraud at the voting booth.

One plaintiff in the case, Viviette Applewhite, was granted a state issued photo ID on Thursday, which will allow her to vote in the upcoming election, Mullen said.

The 93-year-old told CNN she was concerned she would not be able to vote after losing her social security card and birth certificate when her purse was stolen. She was initially unable to obtain a state issued identification card because of the paperwork required by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

"We're very happy for her," Mullen said. "(But) it doesn't really change the case. It's about the hundreds of people who don't have IDs."

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania Judge Robert Simpson issued an order on Wednesday saying there was no constitutional reason to stop the law from taking effect. In his opinion, however, he wrote that he had "sympathy" for the witnesses.

The coalition, however, seeks to appeal the law in the State Supreme Court, requesting that the court hear the case on an expedited basis because the election is less than three months away.

The ACLU of Pennsylvania, the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, the Advancement Project and the law firm of Arnold & Porter filed the appeal jointly.

"The fight in this case could go on after the election. Judge Simpson's ruling was on the request for a preliminary injunction. There could still be a hearing for a final injunction," said the ACLU of Pennsylvania in a statement.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court was not immediately available to comment on the appeal.

In Pennsylvania, support for the law has largely been divided along party lines. Republicans argue the new law helps to fight fraud, while Democrats make the case that the new law aids Republicans in the voting booth by limiting turnout by minorities in the crucial battleground state.

Pennsylvania represents a crucial battleground state this fall in the presidential election. While a Republican candidate hasn't won the state since 1988 – Barack Obama won Pennsylvania by 10 points in 2008 - the GOP has made big gains in recent years and the state has a Republican governor and one U.S. senator.


Filed under: 2012 • Pennsylvania
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Marie MD

    Imagine that. A judge in Pennsylvania, a state that has voted blue in the last five presidential elections, making seniors who probably don't drive anymore and don't have a driver's license or any kind of photo ID since this isn't Russia or China or Cuba, show a photo ID. Let's call it what it is. The rethugs are trying to keep older blacks from voting and some young people. I work phone banks for Obama. I know what I am talking about!!!
    An Ohio teapublikkklan rep went as far as ruling that the mostly red precincts would open earlier in the day while the mostly blue precincts couldn't. Needless to say he might have been the deciding vote in his little game but he had to eat crow and let all precincts open the exact same time. You people don't think this is a way of the rethugs of keeping voting citizens out of the booths for their own cause?

    August 18, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  2. Sarah/Dumfries,VA

    This is Racial,Evil ,Liars ,GOD will remove all EVIL lawmakers for No WEAPON FORMED AGAINST US SHALL PROSPER

    August 18, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  3. fernace

    I wish people would refamiliarize themselves w/what the const.itution says about voting & how it should be handled! Voter suppression disguised as a "crackdown on voter fraud," is a serious breach of our protective laws! Those laws, in a brilliant effort of foresight, were created by our forefathers to shield us from situations such as, 1 party suddenly fussing a lot about non-proven voter fraud & demanding laws to "protect us" from it! I'd buy this if it was a bi-partisan concern, but seems it's only an issue for the GOTP! Does not ring true!!

    August 18, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  4. JOE

    Quit whining people, get some ID.

    August 18, 2012 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  5. gt

    you dont have a picture id in america....ugh.. do you live in a cave.....

    August 18, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. geoclogg

    Voter ID should be required by everyone to cast a vote in any election. To ban voter ID is going backwards not forward.

    August 18, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  7. Al

    I'm with the ACLU. All Central and South Americans should be allowed to vote in the US. Voter registration should be eradicated it is simply discriminatory to most degenerates.

    August 18, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. Ray E. (Georgia)

    People have plenty of time to get registered to vote. They have had at least 2 years since the last election.

    August 18, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. David

    They really should file an appeal, because thats voters suppression.

    August 18, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. d

    Anybody who wants to expose the ballot stuffing and the blatant illegal voter fraud is villified by the very people who want the illegal vote so they can win. It's called "shooting the messenger".

    August 18, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
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