The dispute over the controversial voter ID law came to a partial conclusion yesterday as Judge Robert Simpson ruled to push the enforcement of the law until next year — in hopes of not disenfranchising voters in the upcoming presidential election.
Cynthia Kellerman, manager of Penn State’s ID+ Office, said the office was planning to issue stickers with expiration dates to students who were registered to vote in order to appease the voter ID law.
She said the new student IDs being issued would also have an expiration date on them.
“At this point, we’re not going to change any of that,” Kellerman said. “While this is still in and out of the courts, we’re going to do what we put in place to avoid backtracking again.”
Local Senator Jake Corman, R-Centre, saidthe ruling shows members of the judicial party are trying to ensure a fair and just election.
“We’ve had elections for years without it and we’ll have another one, and that’s fine,” Corman said. “We’ll see down the road if this gets into place.”
Corman said the United States has been modernizing the voting system for years to make sure every vote is counted, and said the voter ID law is just another step in the evolution of the voting system.
Tor Michaels, chief of staff for Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, said it was good the voter ID law would not be enforced in the upcoming election.
He said many people would push to repeal the law altogether because there has not been one documented case of voter fraud in the state in recent years.
“I believe that in 2013, we should revisit the whole subject,” Michaels said. “I think we should reset the deck here and have another earnest debate about the propriety of such a measure.”
Michaels said for the presidential election, the commonwealth would proceed as it did in the primary with what it called a “soft roll.”
He said for a soft roll, election workers asked voters if they had an ID, but if they did not, they were still eligible to vote.
In a statement released by Gov. Tom Corbett and Secretary of State Carol Aichele, Corbett said they were pleased by the judge’s decision to uphold the constitutionality of the law.
“While we believe we have made it possible for every registered voter who needs voter identification to obtain one, we’ll continue our efforts for the next election and all future elections to make sure every registered voter has the proper identification in an effort to preserve the integrity of our voting process in Pennsylvania,” Corbett said in the release.
State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, said he did not believe the law would disenfranchise voters.
He said the requirement of identification is very common now, especially after Sept. 11, and said this was just another step in the process in the modernization of the voting system.
“Those who opposed the bill at all should be content and those who wanted it need to accept that that is the process,” Benninghoff said.
However, Drew McGehrin, president of the Penn State College Democrats, said it was the correct decision for the court to postpone the enforcement of the law because of the timing of the law.
“It’ll definitely make it easier for people to exercise the right to vote, especially on a student level,” McGehrin (senior-religious studies and history) said. “The voter ID added an additional hurdle that, in my opinion, was unnecessary to vote. With this being struck down, it’ll allow more people to exercise that right.”
The Penn State College Republicans declined comment.