The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania will hold oral argument session hearings today to discuss the highly controversial Pennsylvania voter ID law and the state’s second legislative redistricting plan.
The hearing will be televised on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN), with oral arguments beginning at 9:30 a.m. [Info for IYWatch]
The new voter ID law, which is set to go into effect with the November 2012 elections, will require all voters to show approved forms of photo ID at the polls.
The law’s purpose is to put a stop to voter fraud and impersonation on Election Day. Under the law, people will now have to show a state-approved form of ID — for example a driver’s license, student ID card with an expiration date or a passport — to vote.
According to a release on Penn State Live, expiration date stickers were issued to students on Penn State campuses yesterday and will continue to be issued.
Students can pick up stickers in 103 HUB-Robeson Center, HUB Information Desk, Findlay/Johnston Commons, Pollock Commons, Redifer Commons, Simmons Hall, Waring Commons, Warnock Commons and Weston Community Center. The stickers will be available for pick up until Election Day on Nov. 6.
However, the efforts to prevent voter fraud and impersonation could deter potential voters from lining up to vote.
Political science lecturer Zachary Baumann said he does not think the law will have a hindrance on people showing up to vote come November.
“People who turn out have a reason to be there,” Baumann said. “They have taken the steps to get proper identification.
Baumann said passing of law would not entirely prevent voter fraud from occurring.
People who are registered to vote but do not have valid forms of ID will be able to obtain a free Pennsylvania Department of Transportation photo ID for voting purposes at a PennDOT Driver’s License Center.
President of the Penn State College Democrats Drew McGehrin said there is no reason to implement the law so close to election and without any cases of voter fraud occurring in the past.
“There is a huge out of state population here at Penn State, and they won’t be able to vote without proper ID,” he said.
McGehrin said the new law would be another obstacle when getting students out to vote.
Centre County Republicans Chairman Daryl Schafer said anyone who does not believe in fraud is naïve. He says the law is something that is needed; causing very few negative effects.
Schafer said with talks about the law being in the media, people should know the requirement exists.
By providing time before the elections, there are several months to get an ID if needed, he said.
“The one thing that the law does is to assure that voters who vote have their votes counted,” Schafer said.
Centre County’s Democratic Committee Chairman Greg Stewart said the law is politically motivated, designed to target specific groups for voter suppression.
Stewart says Republicans knew that schools in Pennsylvania did not have expiration dates on their student IDs.
“Schools have to reissue new IDs, which cost money,” he said.
He says the law is designed to suppress the vote in cities, with the majority of poor people and students.
“Anything that may make people think twice about voting depresses voter turnout,” he said.
Stewart said there is a lot more that needs to get done on getting the word out about the new law.
McGehrin said the focus is now on getting people up to speed with the new laws and regulations. He said his organization will try to work by getting expiration date stickers out to students if the law is passed.
Baumann said it is important to make sure people are informed.
“Education is always key when there is a change to state laws. We need to make sure people are aware,” he said.
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