Election Board Challenges Voter ID Law

Allegheny County’s election board has decided to file a lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s new Voter Identification law.

By a 2-1 vote, Allegheny County’s election board has decided to file a lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania’s new Voter Identification law. 

The two Democrats, board chairman John DeFazio and county Executive Rich Fitzgerald, voted to sue, while Republican Heather Heidelbaugh voted against the measure. 

The results of the vote were hardly surprising. 

On Friday, Fitzgerald and several other key county Democrats . 

Sponsored by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Cranberry, the law requires voters to show photo identification before they vote at the polls. After a dry run in the April primary, it is scheduled to take effect for the Nov. 6 general election. 

The new Voter ID Act requires each elector who appears to vote to first present proof of identification and requires that local election officials verify the proof of identification. 

“I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am absolutely opposed to the Voter ID law, but this meeting is about something different entirely,” said DeFazio.  “Beyond the unfunded mandates being put on the county for implementation of this law, there are other requirements that are being put on the county that are inappropriate and unlawful.” 

In a statement released prior to today’s vote, Allegheny County Council’s Republican Caucus issued a highly critical statement of the Democrat’s challenge. 

“It’s a dangerous precedent when special interests and party politics come into play regarding elections,” said councilman Vince Gastgeb, R-Bethel Park. “We have all taken an oath to obey the laws and constitution and I would ask all elected officials to get serious about working on real issues that affect our collective taxpayers.” 

“There is nothing outlandish or outrageous concerning having an ID. It’s hard to believe that having something so fundamental and simply following law (that of having an ID to vote) would cause Allegheny County Democratic officials so much angst,” said councilwoman Jan Rea R-McCandless. “Voter Identification to prevent fraud is a simple process. Allegheny County should be fully prepared to implement this new law.” 

Allegheny County controller Chelsa Wagner argued on Friday that the law violates the Pennsylvania Constitution and federal laws guaranteeing free and equal access to the polls while placing an unfunded mandate on county taxpayers.

“No elected official in our democracy should prevent citizens from voting,” Wagner said in a statement on the Allegheny County website. “We will not stand for this in Allegheny County, and we will not stand for this in Pennsylvania—our nation’s birthplace. 

Heidelbaugh said the county’s lawsuit would ultimately amount in a waste of taxpayers’ dollars. 

“The ACLU has already filed such a lawsuit which will be tried shortly in Harrisburg,” she said. “The ACLU has some fine lawyers and they don't need Allegheny County to file another lawsuit over the same issue. Perhaps the individuals promoting this lawsuit could just personally donate to the ACLU to cover the cost of their lawsuit and we can keep precious Allegheny county dollars at home."

Mike Jones June 20, 2012 at 04:07 PM
That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever read... If you had your way, every senior citizen in America wouldn't be able to vote since most probably don't have full-time jobs and all of them collect Social Security and/or Medicare benefits.
Billee June 20, 2012 at 06:16 PM
So if we have a FUNDED MANDATE for I.D. then it will be (FREE and EQUAL) access to the the polls? What about the RESISTANCE? The PEOPLE who feel your NEW form of I.D. is not free and equal for them even though the I.D. was easy to obtain and fully funded? Sounds like a DANGEROUS PRECEDENT to me. How FREE is going to be when you can turn it off when we disagree?! People keep telling me I don't think so. I HOPE their right and not just falling asleep! I see something more here than political parties full of hate and refusing to work together with and for the PEOPLE. All I can say is PRAY! And all your going to do is call me CRAZY! It's still a free country. Isn't it? So sad to see such discord and lack of gratitude for OUR beautiful country being taken for granted. I'm surprised it hasn't fallen sooner! I see why people are mandating birth control! Why bring Gods beautiful children into a world filled with discord and HATE!
Joe DiPietro June 20, 2012 at 06:52 PM
I don't see why a simple finger print( to proove you only voted once) is not good enough. There are MANY MANY people that do not have photo ID. "IF" they wanted to allow the MOST people the chance to vote it should be "ELECTION WEEK" not day. But that will never happen.
freeandequalpa June 21, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Here are some examples of voters who do not have and cannot obtain one of the accepted forms of photo ID: http://freeandequalpa.wordpress.com/summary-of-applewhite-petition/
Ellie Enlightened June 21, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Unbelievable. You need an ID to get cigarettes, fly, enter some public buildings and when you go to a doctor. Everyone has ID. Allegheny County is becoming a bigger joke than ever. This is what happens when liberals run everything.


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