PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — By a 2-to-1 partisan vote, the Allegheny County Board of Elections authorized the county solicitor to file a lawsuit to stop the state’s new voter photo identification law.
“We should be in the position as elected officials for making it easier to vote,” Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said. “And I think this legislation, which seems to have happened in many other states as well, is all about trying to deny and make it more difficult for people to vote.”
The two Democrats on the board, Fitzgerald and Councilman at-large John DeFazio, voted in favor while the board’s lone Republican, Councilwoman at-large Heather Heidelbaugh, opposed the lawsuit.
Allegheny County Republican Chairman Jim Roddey called this partisan.
“I think that we are mixing here government and politics to a degree that we should not,” he said.
But Democrats argue the new law is confusing to the county’s officials at each of the precincts, essentially putting neighbors in the position of disenfranchising neighbors they’ve known for decades simply because they don’t have the right ID.
“In some ways, they’re kind of between a rock and a hard place,” Fitzgerald said.
But Heidelbaugh said county election director had earlier said precinct workers could be trained.
“He’s trained his workers in the past on election law changes and he had full confidence he could educate his workers on these changes,” she said.
Despite the objection, the Democrats prevailed and a lawsuit is expected to be filed in Commonwealth Court in a week.