Statements below from ACLU and other voter ID challengers:PENNSYVLANIA – A Pennsylvania judge rejected a challenge to the state's controversial new voter ID law today. Lawyers for the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP), the Advancement Project, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, and the Washington, DC, law firm of Arnold & Porter, had argued that the law puts up unconstitutional barriers to the fundamental right to vote and threatens to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of people without valid ID. The groups plan to appeal the judge's decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
"I just can't believe it," said Viviette Applewhite, the 93-year-old lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. "Too many people have fought for the right to vote to have it taken away like this. All I want is to be able to vote this November like I always have. This law is just ridiculous."
During the recent seven-day trial, lawyers for the petitioners established that in person voter fraud is exceedingly rare, hundreds of thousands of voters are at risk of being disenfranchised if the law stays in place, and the commonwealth is woefully unprepared to ensure that every voter who needs ID will get one before Election Day. The new Department of State "for voting only" ID is not yet available and not every voter will qualify for one. Prior to the trial, the commonwealth stipulated that it knows of no in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania. Supporters of the law claimed that the law was necessary to stop voter fraud.The following statement can be attributed to Jennifer Clarke, executive director, Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP):
"The determined men and women who came to court to describe their love of this country because we can all participate through the ballot box, will simply have to wait for another day and another court to vindicate this most cherished of all rights."
The following statement can be attributed to David Gersch, Arnold & Porter:
'We are disappointed but will seek to appeal. At trial, we demonstrated that there are about a million registered voters who lack the ID necessary to vote under Pennsylvania's photo ID law. If the court's decision stands, a lot of those people will not be able to vote in November."
The following statement can be attributed to Penda Hair, co-director, Advancement Project:
"This is a huge setback for the right to vote. It's contrary to core American values and sadly takes us back to a dark place in our country's history. We hope the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will see through this and affirm that all Pennsylvania voters have a right to be heard at the ballot box."
The following statement can be attributed to Witold "Vic" Walczak, legal director, ACLU of Pennsylvania:
"Given clear evidence that impersonation fraud is not a problem, we had hoped that the court would show greater concern for the hundreds of thousands of voters who will be disenfranchised by this law."
Leaders of both parties will hold dueling press conferences in Pittsburgh today to debate the fate of Medicare. The issue has burst forth since Paul Ryan was picked to be Mitt Romney's VP, and I have a story today on the local angle . . . which will draw national focus too:
A much-watched congressional race outside Pittsburgh may provide the perfect laboratory for studying how the Medicare changes proposed by GOP vice presidential pick Paul Ryan impact the political landscape this fall.
The 12th District race between U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, and attorney Keith Rothfus, a Republican of Sewickley, is among the top targets nationwide for Republicans this year. The district, formerly represented by the late Democrat John Murtha, voted for Republican John McCain in 2008 and was redrawn by GOP mapmakers to be even more favorable for their party. The National Republican Congressional Committee's largest initial television buy of the fall, launching Friday, will assail Mr. Critz here in the Pittsburgh market.
The district is also home to the largest percentages of Medicare recipients in the entire country. The Critz campaign targeted Mr. Ryan's proposal to issue future seniors private insurance vouchers as its lead attack point on Mr. Rothfus early this summer and with good reason: Westmoreland and Beaver counties have the highest per-capita participation in Medicare Advantage in the nation, according to July 2012 statistics from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, followed by Allegheny County at sixth and Cambria at ninth.
The NYT's Carl Hulse has a look at the impacts on House/Senate races nationally.
Here's the decision denying an injunction to stop Pennsylvania's voter ID law:
GOP US Senate Tom Smith is hitting back with a negative ad on Democrat Bob Casey regarding the economic stimulus bill and job creation policies that that the incumbent's team says isn't factual.
The spot says Casey voted for the failed stimulus that paid for jobs in China" and he "failed to offer one single solution to create jobs" as a senator.
Politifact and other independent fact checkers have largely rejected similar China/stimulus claims made in ads by the Romney camp and his supporters, and which the Smith camp indicates came from an October 2011 story in the Tribune-Review.
It appears some stimulus money went to Chinese manufacturers but the exact amount is in dispute. And the Smith camp notes Casey himself joined Chuck Schumer and a couple other Democrats in March to complain about stimulus money going overseas. Casey's complaints about the Obama administration using foreign steel in military vehicles was the subject of his first ad of this race, which was only broadcast in the Pittsburgh market.The job solution claim is unsourced by the Smith team and easier to settle: here's a Casey press release from just last month pushing tax credits for small businesses that hire new workers or increase wages for new ones. The Smith team (see statement below) means none of Casey's initiatives were approved in the fractious Senate -- which is why they've dubbed him "Senator Zero" -- but that's different from saying he "failed to offer" a plan.
From Casey spokesman Larry Smar:
"First, Tea Party Tom Smith copies his agenda from the Tea Party, now he is copying attacks that have been discredited by independent fact checkers. To cover up his support for policies that will send jobs overseas Tom Smith is recycling attacks that have been called 'False' and 'Pants on Fire.' While Bob Casey has proposed cracking down on unfair trade, tax cuts to spur job creation and support for new industries, Tom Smith is lowering the bar on untrue attack ads."
Smith campaign manager Jim Conroy:
"Our new ad, in response to Senator Casey's first misleading attack of the campaign, highlights Senator Zero's record of accomplishing nothing to create jobs for Pennsylvania," said campaign manager Jim Conroy. "While Tom Smith has a record of creating jobs here in Pennsylvania, Bob Casey, who has failed to pass a single bill into law, has done nothing but serve as a rubber stamp for failed policies that have led to more than 40 months of unemployment exceeding 8 percent."