Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley ruled the state’s onerous Voter ID law as unconstitutional this morning. Republicans in Harrisburg pushed it through in order to disenfranchise voters whose demographics run largely Democratic. The effort was naked election rigging and violated citizen’s voting rights. This is a victory for voters and the PA ACLU.
Commonwealth Court Judge Dan Pellegrini put a halt today to D. Bruce Hanes, Montgomery County Register of Wills, actions in granting marriage licenses to same sex couples. Following the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision Hanes determined that Pennsylvania’s DOMA law is invalid and began pursuing a policy of marriage equality. Gay and lesbian couples from across the Commonwealth flocked to Norristown to get legal permission to wed. 174 couples did so.
Pelligrini said that Hanes didn’t have the authority to determine, on his own, that the law was unconstitutional and invalidated all of the same sex licenses issued by Montgomery County. I’m assuming the case will be appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. If they decide the case solely on these grounds it isn’t likely to be overturned. If they consider the case in light of the constitutionality of DOMA it should get overturned.
In a stark rebuke to the six Supreme Court Justices who ordered him to file an injunction against the Voter ID law for next month’s election a Commonwealth Court Judge disobeyed them today. Judge Robert Simpson handed down an extremely limited injunction which will only result in a new appeal. His order says voters can vote without photo ID November 6th but only on a provisional ballot if they don’t provide an ID.
Those provisional ballots won’t be counted for six days likely leaving the presidential election in limbo along with the state’s electoral votes. If the number of provisional ballots exceeds the winner’s tally on election day the election results will remain up in the air.
How will you know if your provisional ballot will be counted? Unless you write in a unique name for at least one office you won’t know. This strange order says that although no ID be mandated those people must use a provisional ballot. They will not have to produce a photo ID within six days (really two because PennDOT ID centers would only be open for two days) so why force them to use provisional ballots? This is ridiculous.
Six Justices remanded the case back to this insubordinate Judge with orders to issue an injunction if even one voter was deemed to have their fundamental right to vote disenfranchised. The Commonwealth cannot prove that event cannot be avoided so the law should have been struck down completely for this election. Judge Robert Simpson, an obvious idiot sitting on the bench, refused to do so. We’ll remember this when he is up for retention.
Republican Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson upheld the controversial Voter ID law which will do irreparable harm to a million Pennsylvania voters November 6th. It now goes to the state Supreme Court which is currently deadlocked 3-3 between Democrats and Republicans.
Anne Covey’s mudslinging attack ad sent her to Commonwealth Court yesterday. The false allegations against Kathryn Boockvar, demonized for promoting the restoration of voting rights to people who have served their time, went unchallenged by the civil rights lawyer. It is legal for convicted felons to vote after they have served their sentences. As Boockvar tried to so, it greatly reduces their recidivism rate by becoming active, responsible, voting citizens. Covey accused her of doing something wrong in an ad which was universally condemned.
Anne Covey is someone who couldn’t follow state law, cannot follow simple directions and is unable to properly complete a campaign finance report but Pennsylvania elected her to an appellate judicial position. You get what you deserve folks.