Pennsylvania Supreme Court hears challenge to voter ID law

Updated

Pennsylvania’s voter ID law has reached the state’s Supreme Court, where the voting rights of approximately 150 million residents who don’t have the required identification hang in the balance. 

State Senator Daylin Leach, a Democrat, sat in on Thursday’s proceedings. That night, he told PoliticsNation’s Al Sharpton it would be truly unfortunate if the law is upheld, and that such a ruling would undermine the court as a judicial body—particularly since the state has had zero cases of voter fraud. He described the proceedings:

“There seems to be a real focus on how long it would take everyone to get the ID, and a lot of talk about if we delay this two years, it would take a lot more time to get the ID for people,” he said. “But also, what’s the hurry? That question was asked over and over again, ‘what’s the hurry?’ And the only thing the State could say is, ‘there really is no hurry, but the legislature decided it that way so we should defer to them.’ That didn’t seem to impress a lot of Justices.”

Rep. Chaka Fattah, another Pennsylvania Democrat, was also confident the Court wouldn’t allow for politically-motivated voter disenfranchisement in a swing state right before a presidential election.

“I am very optimistic that we’re going to get a strong majority of the Court to either delay the implementation or strike down the law altogether, and I don’t think it’s going to be a partisan vote,” he told Sharpton.

Leach was equally sanguine. “My feeling is it’s not a split decision, where we’ll actually have the Court weigh in on this,” he said, “and I think there’s a really good chance we’ll see a delay in the implementation rule of this law.”

In one moment during the day’s proceedings, Court Justice Seamus McCaffrey pointed out that his own court ID, although it includes his photo and the Chief Justice’s signature on it, doesn’t qualify him to vote because it doesn’t have an expiration date. The Court is expected to rule by the end of the month.

Al Sharpton

Pennsylvania Supreme Court hears challenge to voter ID law

Updated