In key swing states, just ahead of the November showdown between President Barack Obama and Republican hopeful Mitt Romney, voter ID laws and election rules are being challenged as the presidential race heats up. Despite protests by groups, such as the NAACP, a judge in Pennsylvania has upheld a strict voter ID requirement that Democrats allege is a Republican-led attack to suppress votes this fall.
Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson elected to not grant injunctions that would have stopped the law drafted by Republican lawmakers and now eligible voters are required to show a state-issued photo ID at their polling places. Supporters of the law say this measure has cut down on voter fraud, although in Pennsylvania the battle lines were clearly drawn from the start.
All of the state’s Democrats voted against the law, which was signed by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett. Since 2004, only four cases of voter fraud have ever been reported — this among more than 20 million ballots cast. More than 10 percent of Pennsylvania’s eligible voters do not have the proper identification needed, equaling 750,000 persons.
Rev. Al Sharpton, a harsh critic of the voter ID law, has issued a statement from the offices of the National Action Network (NAN) and will address the ruling on his nationally syndicated “Keeping It Real” show and his MSNBC program “Politics Nation.”
Rev. Sharpton said the ruling was “a slap in the face of democracy and a clear upholding of voter suppression” – clearly echoing the sentiment felt by all who oppose the law. Sharpton and the NAN intend to roll out their Voter Engagement campaign in Pennsylvania, mirroring their efforts in Florida, Ohio, Georgia, and Alabama over the past few weeks.