On Friday morning, Judge Bernard McGinley ruled that Pennsylvania’s restrictive voter ID law, that was passed in 2012, is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced in the state. The law was passed in March 2012 with the clear intention of disenfranchising hundred of thousands of voters in that year’s upcoming Presidential election. However, a federal court put a hold on the law a few weeks prior to Election Day.
In his 103-page decision, Judge McGinley stated, “Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election; the Voter ID Law does not further this goal.” Obviously, the judge was able to see through the ruse that the Republican legislature was trying to pull. The whole point of the law was to disenfranchise as many voters as possible, as conservatives know that when you have lower turnout, Republicans tend to win elections. On top of that, the GOP could never even prove their stated reason for drafting and passing this law, which was the root out ‘voter fraud.’
This is, in no unclear terms, a huge victory for voting rights. This decision shows that states should not be able to pass unconstitutional and harmful laws just because they have gerrymandered Republican legislatures that want to ensure that they remain in power as long as possible. In Pennsylvania, when they passed the voter ID law, Pennsylvania’s House Majority Leader Mike Turzai made a speech to his fellow Republicans admitting that passing the law would let Mitt Romney carry the state.
Perhaps it was that video that destroyed the illusion that Pennsylvania Republicans were interested in preserving the integrity of elections and more concerned with trying to find a way for Romney to get elected by making it more difficult for poor people, minorities, students and the elderly to participate in the franchise. Sometimes, conservatives just can’t help but shoot themselves in the foot. Shortly after that video went public, a federal judge placed a hold on the law.
As for this ruling, Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has already stated that he plans to file an appeal. However, it seems extremely unlikely that he will be successful. The GOP has not been able to prove that voter fraud is an actual problem and also would have to prove that this law would not improperly impede a legal voter’s chance to participate, which they also cannot do. Hopefully, this will be the opening for other voter suppression efforts to be struck down on constitutional grounds.