“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”
Divided along party lines, Allegheny County’s election board voted this afternoon to file a lawsuit challenging the state’s new Voter Identification law.
Board chairman John DeFazio and county Executive Rich Fitzgerald, both Democrats, voted to sue, while Heather Heidelbaugh, the lone Republican on the three-member board, voted against the measure. Both Mr. DeFazio, of Shaler, and Ms. Heidelbaugh, of Mt. Lebanon, serve on the election board because they are at-large members of county council.
“We should be making it easier to vote,” Mr. Fitzgerald said. “This legislation [the Voter ID law] is trying to deny that right and make it more difficult for people to vote.”
The measure, which takes effect with the Nov. 6 general election, requires that all voters have some form of state-approved photo identification when they come to the polls.
Ms. Heidelbaugh noted that the bill was passed by two houses of the state Legislature and signed by Gov. Tom Corbett.
“This suit is sour grapes by an elected official who doesn’t like the new law,” she said.
County solicitor Andrew Szefi said the lawsuit likely would be brought on behalf of both the election board and the county.
The heart of the county’s argument would be that the state constitution sets just four requirements for voting eligibility: minimum age, U.S. citizenship, residence in Pennsylvania and a specific election district.
The new requirement that voters show photo identification before they can cast ballots should have been imposed via constitutional amendment, he said.
Mr. Szefi estimated it would take the county law department about a week to prepare the lawsuit, which will be filed in Commonwealth Court.
The county has standing to bring the suit, because it pays elections costs and will have to spend additional money to train poll workers to enforce the photo ID rule, Mr. Fitzgerald said.
Kentucky miner Charles Scott Howard lost his job at Cumberland River Coal Co. last May, after years of butting heads with management over safety issues at the mine. Now, more than 13 months later, Howard may suit up and head back into the mine, whether his employer likes it or not.
A federal judge ordered Friday that Howard’s company immediately reinstate him at the mine and pay a $30,000 fine for discriminating against a whistleblower. The sharply worded decision said managers at Cumberland River, as well as its parent company, coal giant Arch Coal, went to great lengths to find a reason to fire Howard after he brought his mine to the attention of federal safety officials.
“It is obvious that [Cumberland River] worked diligently to end Howard’s employment,” wrote Margaret A. Miller, an administrative law judge for the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. “The discrimination against Howard ran through [Cumberland River] and its parent, Arch, at the highest management levels.”