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. drake mallard

    GOP Turzai : Voter ID allows Romney to win PA

    August 17, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  2. Mike

    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...

    Guess it's not that hard after all if a 93 yr old can accomplish it. Liberal fail.

    August 17, 2012 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  3. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    The Gop needs to be destroyed in Nov and take romney the tax cheat and Ryan the hot dog car driver down the toilet with them !!!!

    August 17, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  4. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    The only way the Gop can win this election is to steal it and lie to their stupid brain dead fox dope channel supporters!!!!!

    August 17, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  5. Namejkane fl SEND THE THREE TIME LOSER romney HOME AND MAKE IT FOUR.

    The Gop likes to cheat ,that why they gave the Gop bafoons party nomenation to romney the tax cheat ,he probably cheated on his state taxes too !!!!

    August 17, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  6. mmac

    even the juge knows pennsylvania is ripe with corruption and voter fraud.

    August 17, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  7. Michael

    Repuglicans accuse President Obama of all sorts of ludicrious fantasies of GOP base! But, one thing they can't accuse him of trying to fix another election! The first time was hang chads, missing ballots, boxes of ballot found in the dumpster and a repuglican conservative court making the peoples decision for President. Here we go again! This time repuglican governors around the country enacting voter-id laws to limit the seniors, the poor or minority voter turn out, under the guise of a massive conspiracy of voter fraud, even though there is no evidence! EVEN REPUGLICAN LEADERS IN THESE STATES ACKNOWLEDGE NO EVIDENCE OF VOTER FRAUD!

    August 17, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  8. CNN Fan

    I don't know why they need vote I.D when those people never found the major vote fraud....even the 5th grade can know that it does not make sense...however, we should respect the court decisions....i think Democrat should encourage or help their supporters to get I.D now...Do not wait the result from appeal...Make everyone who has rights to vote can vote....

    August 17, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  9. stephen

    Republicans have conspired to obstruct everything Obama and the Dems were trying to do to help this country recover from the recession. Obama has been non partisan. Republicans drew a line in the sand. The facts very easily show this. Obama isnt the one lying. Mitt Romney and Paul and Reince Priebus and Rush Limbaugh and every turd on Fox News are the ones doing the lying. Obama has not illegally bypassed congress. You really are showing how uneducated you are pertaining to how our govt works. Grow up and Wake up. You are spreading false information

    August 17, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  10. gwats

    Damn Republicans. They Know they can't win a straight up fight, so they go low and dirty. Shame on them!

    August 17, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain: Under the Ryan Plan, Romney Pays 0.87% in taxes

    This is all you need to know about the Pennsylvania law:

    June 25, 2012, Pennsylvania state House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) suggested that the House’s end game in passing the Voter ID law was to benefit the GOP politically by checking it off his party's laundry list:

    "Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

    Especially given the FACT that there have been only 10 cases of in-person voter fraud in the U.S. since 2000, this is obviously a ploy by the GOP to steal the 2012 election in Pennsylvania.

    August 17, 2012 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  12. Chris

    U need id for everything why not voting. Because if we dont have voter id and the dems lose theyll call voter id fraud like they did in2000

    August 18, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  13. Woman In California

    I would love nothing more than the people of Pennsylvania to prevail in this lawsuit but I can't understand not having State issued identification unless you are elderly or handicapped. Anyway, I hope they have a Plan B.

    August 18, 2012 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  14. Desmond, a Canadian

    This new voter ID requirement is an unbelievable, BLATANT effort to RIG an election which Rawmoney could never win fairly and if the US electorate is intelligent and honest.

    August 18, 2012 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  15. Anonymous

    I think Obama should release the grades he made in college and all the other things that he has locked off from public disclosure. His entire campaign is negative. He has not offered any solutions to any of the messes he has brought us to but continues to criticize Romney. I say give Romney a chance. He couldn't possibly do worse that Obama.

    August 18, 2012 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  16. todd

    No, we're not having Micky Mouse, Donald Duck or your dead grandma voting. If you don't have a state issued ID and would like to participate in the process, there is still plenty of time to take care of this.

    August 18, 2012 03:28 am at 3:28 am |
  17. Anonymous

    Who is Arnold & Porter getting head from? What incestuous relationship have they got with the democrats generally or specific ones? We know already that the ACLU is the handmaiden of the communists and turn up wherever there is a pushback against against their influence or that of the mofohamids. The Pubic Interest Law Center sounds like a Soros front group I read about. Similar to the Southern Poverty Law Center in what their aims are. I am not impressed and
    unless there are threats on the families of the judges I would hope they do not find a way to suspend the ruling past the November elections.

    August 18, 2012 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
  18. Gizmo

    Here we go again! Another G.O.P. attempt to steal another election. HOW PATHETIC!! OBAMA/BIDEN 2012 AND BEYOND!!!

    August 18, 2012 04:37 am at 4:37 am |
  19. Aru

    The problem Republicans have with trying to pass all of this voter ID requirements is that they also want to fire all of the government employees that would issue or check it for authenticity.

    Another Let them eat cake id there is no bread Repub idea.

    August 18, 2012 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  20. RD

    I want my vote to count. If there is any chance someone could vote who is note elligible to vote which would cancel out my vote, I want Voter ID as a deterent. I'm fine if a valid elligible voter cancels out my vote because of their oppose view to mine... that's democracy.

    August 18, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  21. "NUFFSAID"

    The state and federal governments are making it so easy for the people of the individual states to get a proper ID
    that I am not quite sure why there is so much resistance against this provision of the LAW !! The only reasoning that can be made is that they want ungualified voters to be able to vote in this, oh so, "IMPORTANT ELECTION".
    "NUFFSAID"

    August 18, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  22. AD

    What's the problem? Make sure you're a legal citizen, not incarcerated, dead, a pet, or completely fabricated, and you can vote. Ohhhhhh, I get it. How then are Democrats suppose to win elections?

    August 18, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  23. Pete

    This is another GOP stunt to supress votes,its out there because your delushional hypocrites the republicans think someone is going to do what they've previously done,steal votes , had the dead and others vote for their candidates.Now they're afraid the tables are turning their candidate is on the ropes and they need either more votes which they can't buy or curtail the oppositions,the oppositions supressing is easier and can be done legally ,just like now in republican governored states.You didn't see it in the republican primaries did ya,but its here now ,the insane taking over the asylum right!!!It's a proven fact that there's 0% fraudulent votes in elections the past 10 years,why now because they know these states will turn blue for Obama and there's nothing legal they can do to stop the landslide.Remember republicans you picked your wealthy elitist to supposidly get us out right,but guess what our team is doing it already,just get out of the way and watch the only adults running for the presidency.

    August 18, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  24. Norma Vessels

    The Republican judge may feel sympathy for the witnesses, but he ruled in favor of the Republican officials who want to take away voting rights to many people whom they know would vote for our president. They know that .. we know that .. yet they deny it.

    August 18, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  25. marty

    The best example of people who have their heads in the sand is, that after a nationally televised clip of Rep Mike Turzi (PA) clearly....yes, clearly, saying that passage of the voter ID law ensures victory in Pennsylvania for Romney, they continue to deny the blatant attempt of voter suppression. This denial from the Republican party famous for waving little American flags at gatherings and beating their chest about the glories of our free democratic society. Republican politicians in Pennsylvania had a choice; millions of dollars to execute a law against fraud where NO fraud existed or using that money for children's needs, police and fire protection and transportation. This action, coupled with the fact that the rather secretive governor, Tom Corbett, refused to levy a tax on the unpopular Marcellus shale drilling, illustrates what appears to be a state whose politics is specifically geared towards a rigid, pledge signing party power grab rather than political representation for the people, by the people.

    August 18, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
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