Hold justices accountable on voter ID

Posted: September 30, 2012

Don Adams

is a resident of Cheltenham, and cofounder of the Independence Hall Tea Party Association

On the recent 225th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, I attended a panel discussion on the new Pennsylvania voter-ID law at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

The event was moderated by one of the most partisan pols imaginable - former Gov. Ed Rendell, an avowed opponent of the law.

During the 75-minute program, the governor made no attempt to facilitate an honest discussion. Instead, he quite often interjected himself into the debate - citing misleading facts on the issue.

The panel included three opponents of the law, a state official who assumed a rather neutral position, and one supporter, John Fund, columnist and author of Who's Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk.

The audience was stacked with opponents who sneered and jeered Fund at every turn. Anyone present, or those who saw it later on television, would have been under the misconception that the law was wildly unpopular.

However, that same day, The Inquirer reported on a poll showing that nearly 70 percent of Pennsylvanians support the law and that 94 percent believe that requiring a photo ID does not place an unnecessary burden on voters - a main contention of Rendell and his allies.

The next day, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court handed down its nondecision on the law, punting it back to Commonwealth Court.

It seemed the court was trying to pressure Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr., who had already affirmed the law, to rule that the law could lead to voter disenfranchisement in the November election, due to an unnecessary burden on voters to obtain an ID - a finding that Simpson had already clearly rejected.

Obviously, the Supreme Court was looking for cover from Simpson, apparently not caring about the law's main goal of enhancing voter integrity by cutting down on fraud. (And, yes, there is documented evidence of voter fraud. Just read Fund's books.)

The Supreme Court, of course, should have upheld the law in deference to the state legislature, which represents the will of the people.

Regardless, the ball is back in Simpson's court. If he decides to place an injunction on the law, thereby preventing it from going into effect, Gov. Corbett should immediately appeal the outcome to the state Supreme Court.

Here's the bottom line: If this law is not put into effect come November, as intended by the legislature, voters might very well hold Chief Justice Ron Castille, a Republican, and Justice Max Baer, a Democrat, accountable in their retention elections next year - especially if the presidential race is decided by a few points in Pennsylvania. Voters might respond positively to a grassroots campaign opposing retention of two justices who punted on voter ID, rather than uphold it.

Rendell and his pals may have won the battle by stacking the deck on Constitution Day, but the overwhelming majority of Pennsylvania residents who support the law should win the war when it is implemented just in time for the ever-important presidential election in November.

E-mail Don Adams at getsmarty@hotmail.com.

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