Allegheny County Election Board Votes Suit against Voter ID Law

Split election board to contest Voter ID law

June 19, 2012 4:35 pm
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John DeFazio, Director of USW District 10 and Chair of Allegheny County Board of Elections

By Len Barcousky / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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.

Len Barcousky: or 412-263-1159.

One thought on “Allegheny County Election Board Votes Suit against Voter ID Law”

  1. Its about time Democrats stood up to the 5 or so Right wing extremist Governors who want to put their political agendas ahead of the American people. For over 200 years , we have had a system that struggled with abuse. First it was rich white men only. Then all men after much blood had been shed. Then after women protested and used violent crossing of their legs , they got to vote. Then came the poll tax and a written test, until uneducated white people couldn’t pass the test. Then your grandfather had to vote , then you were elegible. What bullshit the American people had to put up with! I recomment the president and Congress declair election day in November a national holiday for democracy and have everyone register to vote. If they don’t vote then tax them.You can vote for none of the above. 1% can NOT have all the money and leave the rest hopeless and in distress. This country has to work for all of us.

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