People For the American Way Foundation

Lawsuits, politics color voter ID in Pennsylvania

Earlier this year, Pennsylvania lawmakers passed HB 934, a voter ID law whose original sponsor, Daryl Metcalfe, is an ALEC member. Voting rights advocates filed a lawsuit in May, and in June, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced that he, too, plans to challenge the law in court. Fitzgerald and local officials cite the legislation as being too expensive and too difficult to implement by November, among other major flaws.

Even Secretary of State Carol Aichele, who has been touring the state to defend the law, seems to have fallen prey to one particular flaw – the restrictive expiration date clause, which is expected to bar a large chunk of the student population from the polls. When displaying her own ID, it was noticed that it lacked an expiration date, automatically invalidating it for voting purposes.

Aichele and other proponents claim that HB 934 will minimize so-called widespread voter fraud. There is a reason the Right Wing has been so eager to invent such a problem and then offer gratuitous solutions: to disenfranchise the voters least likely to back conservative politicians. Indeed, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, a one-time ALEC member recently suggested that the new law will deliver Pennsylvania for Mitt Romney in November.

The first of the HB 934 trials is set to begin at the end of July, setting the stage for what will surely be a long battle.

Until then, check out The Right to Vote under Attack: The Campaign to Keep Millions of Americans from the Ballot Box, a Right Wing Watch: In Focus report by PFAW Foundation.


112th Congress, ALEC, American Legislative Exchange Council, Carol Aichele, Daryl Metcalfe, Mike Turzai, Mitt Romney, Policy Corner, public policy, Rich Fitzgerald, Student Voting, voter ID, voter suppression, voting rights