AUGUST 15, 2012 / BY KIM LEHMKUHL PA judge upholds ALEC voter suppression law

UPDATE: (09/12/12) The state Supreme Court will review the lower court's ruling tomorrow, with proceedings televised live on Pennsylvania Cable Network at 9:30am local time.

On Wednesday, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson refused to halt implementation of Pennsylvania's discriminatory voter ID law — claiming that the state's "asserted interest in protecting public confidence in elections" is sufficient to outweigh the voting rights of 1.6 million largely Black and brown citizens who may be unconstitutionally barred from the polls this November

The scale of the potential disenfranchisement in Pennsylvania is so vast because the state has one of the most restrictive voter ID laws on record — a coup for the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which since 2009 has invested heavily in passing such laws nationwide.

ALEC's lackeys in the Pennsylvania legislature want to keep otherwise eligible voters from the polls if they can't produce one of a few cherry-picked forms of photo ID (or the documents required to obtain one) — which conform to a set of requirements so arbitrary and complex that the Philadelphia delegation to the state House has had to produce a 116-page Voter ID Education Guide to explain them.

Although the group has legislative members like Pennsylvania's voter ID cheerleaders Rep. Daryl Metcalfe and House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, ALEC is 98% corporate-funded. Last December, ColorOfChange launched a campaign to expose ALEC's role in pushing discriminatory voter ID restrictions, and to urge its corporate funders to withdraw their support. Over 100,000 people have taken action, and 32 companies — including household brands Walgreens, Best Buy, CVS, MillerCoors, Johnson & Johnson, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, McDonald's and Coca-Cola — have done the right thing and said no to continuing to bankroll voter suppression.

We'll keep working to defund ALEC while we monitor the situation in Pennsylvania and other states battling ALEC's voter suppression efforts. In the meantime, you can learn about any voter ID restrictions impacting the right to vote in your home state (and register to vote for the first time or update your registration) at vote.colorofchange.org.