POLL: Newtown Reacts to Pa. Voter ID Decision [Updated]

Local politicos give their reaction to Patch. Will this decision stick? Both sides had said they would appeal this ruling.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson upheld Pennsylvania’s , but that’s not the end of the story.

At the conclusion of the hearing, both sides said they would appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court if they lost. In this case, the loser is American Civil Liberties Union legal director Vic Walczak.

He told The Washington Post that the case isn't over. “It’s why they make appeals courts.”

Do you agree with the verdict? Leave a comment.

The ACLU and the NAACP claim voter ID laws disenfranchises voters, especially the elderly, the poor and minorities.

Proponents of voter ID laws, including State Senator Daryl Metcalfe (R-12th District) who introduced the Pennsylvania bill, say the law is meant to prevent voter fraud.

From the start, this issue has split Republicans and Democrats, and if it goes to the State Supreme Court, it could get the same reception. The Court has only six members now: three Republicans and three Democrats. The seventh Justice, Joan Orie Melvin, was suspended earlier this year on corruption charges. She is a Republican.

Wes Oliver, associate professor of law with Duquesne University School of Law, told PA Independent that in the case of a stalemate, the lower court’s decision sticks.

Here's what Newtown Area Republican Comittee member Paul Salvatore said about the ruling:

"Until the federal government comes up with a national database for voter registration, states need to be allowed to protect the integrity of the voting booth. There's nothing that stops someone from voting in Pennsylvania and also being registered to vote in another state and vote there, this can be done with absentee ballots.

“The integrity of each and every valid vote was upheld today. As the court said, the requirements of Act 18 will be implemented in a non-partisan, even-handed manner by Commonwealth agencies, and qualified voters will have their votes counted."

The top Republican in the state House of Representatives, Mike Turzai, released the following statement on Wednesday afternoon:

“The many election reforms enacted, including voter ID, are aimed to ensure citizens and registered voters have the right to vote and have their vote counted. It’s about one person, one vote, and each instance of fraud dilutes legitimate votes.

“It is unfortunate, but there has been a history of voter fraud in Pennsylvania.

“The elections in the Commonwealth will be on a more level playing field thanks to voter ID and other recent election reforms.”

Former Democratic Newtown Borough Council member Mike Sellers gave us his take on Wednesday's ruling:

"The voter ID law was always a solution in search of a problem.  I had corresponded with our State Senator while this legislation was pending, and asked for the statistical evidence of voter fraud in the past driving this effort. I never received it. With all the pressing issues facing the people of Pennsylvania,  much  money and time was spent to address a problem that could not be proven to exist.  And millions more dollars are  still needed to implement the “ID requirement.” As with many  things in politics, the motivation behind the new law can be found by who will gain or lose.  The ID requirement was shown at the trial  in Commonwealth Court to unfairly disenfranchise those in lower income groups, minorities, and the elderly, among others. Coincidentally, these are primarily democratic leaning groups when it comes to elections. The benefit from turning away voters on election day will go to the Republicans who want to  skew the odds in favor of their party in a presidential election year. One of the top republican legislators stated that very intention was behind the new law.  But hope remains that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will yet stop this injustice."

Marilyn Smith-Scarpa left the following comment on our Facebook page:

"Just like Republicans to try and steal an election. There is no meaningful evidence of voter fraud yet this must be done before a presidential election? They don't even know what 'unintended' consequences might arise. Obviously they don't care either!"

Newtown Township Board of Supervisors chairman Mike Gallagher gave this reaction:

"Regardless of political affiliation, I think it's important to make sure that everyone has the ability to vote. While I understand the need for the Commonwealth to validate the result of each election, my focus has been on making sure that Newtown residents aren't turned away on November 6th. I spoke with the Board of Elections in April and reached out to every Judge of Elections in Newtown Township, asking them to get me names of people that may need assistance in acquiring the necessary identification for November. After speaking to a few Judges after the election, it was clear that Newtown residents were often knowledgeable about the new requirement, and those that didn't know the law had no problem providing ID.   

"My hope is that there are no obstructions to voting in Newtown this November. With a high expected turnout, any attempt to make a statement about this legislation will only serve to make the voting process more difficult for the average voter."

Post will be updated as more reaction from locals is received.


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Ed August 15, 2012 at 04:50 PM
And let the GAMES continue working to: destroy our true democracy twisting it into a one party republic / rule, take away freedom with complete hypocrisy, and deny equality of voice for everyone. This gamesmanship of MY side winning (and damn the others) all in the name of this KING'S rule is the sport, the business, and the sad games of "political governing" which I have come to despise. It divides us - not unites us. Our forefathers created something far different then this. They created ONE nation, not this divide. George Washington warned against creating political divisive parties for this reason. If we are this "Christian Nation" with this "nature and God" being our core (instead of freedom of religion), Christ would blast those denying choice and voice while empowering others. All should be disgusted by this admitted game - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuOT1bRYdK8 - but listen to how many defend these games as long as it's their side winning ... sad.
David Philips August 15, 2012 at 05:08 PM
A waste of time and money unwillingly funded by all of us. As the previous commenter said its a non-issue that got turn into an issue for political gain. I hope the ACLU and NAACP lawsuits can show this. It's just an outrage and an assult against the people cleverly packaged as "protecting the voting process".
Jen Ross Dix August 15, 2012 at 09:42 PM
I'd be curious to know how Mr. Salvatore thinks this law will protect the absentee ballot vote. That is where fraud exists, if there is any, yet this bill does not have any impact whatsoever on absentee ballots.
Ed August 15, 2012 at 11:52 PM
If I may - NOT speaking for Paul in any way. Mr. Salvatore is right in "concept", but if he was to step back realistically and truthfully to look at the timing, motivation, and the gamed process - he'd see as he knows this "solution" fails "we the people". It serves "we the party". A proper, just and updated election system (including getting all partisan hacks away from the polling place entrances so we could all go and voice our vote in peace and not be pressured and hacked from ALL sides) would protect every vote and make sure every vote is counted. BUT that takes time to plan, to implement, and to be sure it represents the collective and not ANY ONE side. This gamed ugly process pushed through has NOT been implemented for respecting every vote counting nor for the justice of one and all. It is the game plan to win at ANY cost. As Rep Turzai admitted (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuOT1bRYdK8) this is the game of the elected serving their parities (political governing) WELL ahead of serving the oath to serve and the elected they are to serve INCLUDING those on the "other side" of our divide. A fair system would protect every vote - this is not a fair system. It is as Corbett, Turzai, and others have said in doing everything they could and can to ensure a win at any cost. As for this claim this game ensuring every vote counts ... the truth is every vote for one side counts - those that oppose DON'T. THAT is the reality, not fair, and NOT democracy. Sad.
Jay Sensibaugh August 22, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Unfortunately the Voter ID law is trying to fix a problem that doesn't exist. What is has shown is that using the driver license is a terrible identification method. Missing letters, maden names, and a variety of other details that are gotten wrong will lead to disengagement of the voting public. This will lead to decisions made by, made for, a small group of people. NOT GOOD FOR DEMOCRACY, everyone should have a voice and a vote.


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