As the Justice Department investigates Pennsylvania’s voter ID law on the federal level, a coalition of civil rights groups is gearing up for a state trial starting Wednesday examining whether the law is allowable under Pennsylvania’s constitution.
In that case, Pennsylvania might have handed those groups and their clients (including 93-year-old Viviette Applewhite) a bit of an advantage: They’ve formally acknowledged that there’s been no reported in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania and there isn’t likely to be in November.
The state signed a stipulation agreement with lawyers for the plaintiffs which acknowledges there “have been no investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania; and the parties do not have direct personal knowledge of any such investigations or prosecutions in other states.”
Additionally, the agreement states Pennsylvania “will not offer any evidence in this action that in-person voter fraud has in fact occurred in Pennsylvania and elsewhere” or even argue “that in person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absense of the Photo ID law.”
Pennsylvania has said that over 750,000 registered voters do not have ID from the Transportation Department, a problem more concentrated in urban centers like Philadelphia. One top state Republican has claimed the voter ID law would help Mitt Romney win the Keystone state and Democrats have already altered their campaign plans should the law survives legal challenges.
Judge Robert Simpson will hear the case, Applewhite et al. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, et al., in Harrisburg starting on Wednesday. The ACLU expects the trial to last five to seven days.
(H/T Free and Equal)