Pennsylvania’s restrictive Voter ID law gets its first legal test this week as the trial challenging the constitutionality of the law starts today.
Filed by a coalition of civil rights groups, the plaintiffs allege the bill violates the state constitution. The trial starts just as the Justice Department starts its own investigation into the law on the federal level.
In court filings in the state challenge, Pennsylvania officials formally acknowledged there have been no reported in-person voter fraud cases in Pennsylvania and there are not likely to be any in November. The admission was part of a signed stipulation agreement with the plaintiffs. The agreement also states that Pennsylvania “will not offer any evidence in this action that in-person voter fraud has in fact occurred in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.”
Pennsylvania estimates that over 750,000 registered voters do not have an ID that would satisfy the photo ID bill. Those voters are predominately concentrated in urban areas like Philadelphia which also happen to be heavily democratic-leaning. One of the top state Republican leaders has admitted the voter ID law was passed to help Mitt Romney win the swing state.
The trial is expected to last five to seven days. Given the initial admissions by the Republican that there is no evidence of fraud to support the bill, the Department of Justice will be watching the trial very closely.
Photo from John Morton via flickr.