Our opinion: No rush this time
Five months ago there was an overflow of political angst over Voter ID in Pennsylvania.
You remember – that ill-conceived, ill-timed, and poorly instituted stab at curing a problem that didn’t exist at the expense of millions of tax dollars and the disenfranchisement of thousands of potential voters.
Now comes the run-up to the May municipal primary, which will be nearly a year since the original legislation was born in a Republican caucus.
The law is still technically in litigation, but both sides have agreed that it won’t be enforced during the upcoming primary. “At this point we just don’t see the (need) to litigate the issue,” Senior Deputy Attorney General Patrick Cawley told the Associated Press. Translation: “Eh.”
After all, it is only municipal offices that are up for election. The unspoken motive for the original legislation was the national election. Well, unspoken except for Republican House Majority Leader Mike Turzai’s public admission that the law would “allow” Gov. Mitt Romney to win Pennsylvania.
Cawley’s statement last week seems to indicate another public admission that the law was aimed at a single election and not the long-term reformation of a system that has been running smoothly for more than 200 years.
So, voters in Warren County, as in the rest of the state, will be asked for ID at the polls on May 21, but if they don’t have an ID or simply say they don’t will still be permitted to vote. The pressure is off, at least for another three years when the furnaces of national political discontent are fired yet again.
Of course, Republican Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi is getting a head start with his legislation to change the way Pennsylvania’s electoral votes are counted, but there’s no rush. As Pileggi’s spokesman said, “It’s not a Top 10, it’s not a Top 20 priority. It’s an issue we thought was worthy of additional debate and discussion.”