Pennsylvania’s Voter Photo ID Law is being litigated in court as we speak. We really ought to use a very basic test on this. Would the law cause even one eligible person to be unable to vote and would it prevent even one person from committing in-person voter fraud? From a statistical point of view, in-person voter fraud doesn’t exist. And it is already a crime. But, think about it. What is the problem with in-person voter fraud? Isn’t it that you get to cast two votes instead of one? How about when you cast zero votes instead of one? Isn’t that equally distorting to the outcome of an election? Passing and enforcing a law that causes people not to vote should be a crime with a punishment just a strong as the punishment for fraud.
Rather than debating the constitutionality of the Pennsylvania Jim Crow law, we ought to be putting Republican officials on notice that they will be arrested if their law disenfranchises even one eligible voter. Officials like Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, who famously said that the Voter ID law was going to allow Mitt Romney to win the state. Or Pennsylvania GOP party chairman Rob Gleason, who asserted last week that the Voter ID law, which wasn’t even in full effect, probably helped hold down Obama’s numbers.
The GOP talks about minority outreach, but minorities are twice as likely as whites to lack the state-mandated photo identification that the law requires. And they are fully aware of the intent of these Voter Photo ID laws.