PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Tomorrow, the State Supreme Court will take on a legal challenge to Pennsylvania’s new Voter Identification Law.
Lawyers will argue whether the bill is constitutional or whether it makes it too hard for many citizens to vote.
The day before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania hears oral argument on whether Pennsylvania’s controversial photo ID law is constitutional, opponents of the law gathered at City Council to protest a law they say disenfranchises thousands of registered voters, especially among the elderly, young, and poor.
“The conservative estimate is that nine percent of registered voters do not have a state issued ID,” Natalia Rudiak of the Pittsburgh City Council says.
Republican election lawyer and Councilwoman Heather Heidelbaugh, however, say the law is Constitutional because the state has the right to protect against fraud.
“Can the Legislature enact a law which is reasonably based to make sure that elections are safe and try to prevent voter fraud,” says Heather Heidelbaugh.
Those who appeal the law say, as written, it prevents legitimate citizens from voting.
“The barriers to getting an ID, to knowing if you have an ID, and the hoops that will have to be jumped through right now, will result in people’s votes not counting. Voting is a fundamental constitutionally protected right that is being attacked under this law,” says Barb Feige of the Civil Liberties Union.
“There have to be some hurdles in place to ensure that people are not trying to steal elections,” says Heidelbaugh.
How far those hurdles can go is likely to be a key question for the court.
“It took me a total of nine hours, three different trips to the DMV, and from beginning to end it took one month,” says Dr. Lori Flynn.
This is an appeal from the Commonwealth Court so it is harder for those who object the law — who lost their first challenge.
The lower court upheld the law and it will take four of the six justices on the Supreme Court to over-turn that decision and throw out photo ID’s.
The six justices split evenly along political lines — three democrats and three republicans.