Northwest Philly pols react to the voter ID ruling

Many elected officials from in and around Northwest Philadelphia offered quick reactions to the news that a Commonwealth Court judge ordered that the commonwealth’s new voter identification requirement not be enforced in next month’s presidential election.

What follows is a collection of those responses.

Al Schmidt, City Commissioner, Republican, East Falls resident:

“We’re still working our way through the decision to figure out how it affects what we do, what we don’t do and what we have to undo. [Voters] will still be asked for ID [at the polls on Election Day], but if they don’t have it, they will still be able to vote. It’s more or less a rerun of the primary election. It’s important that we get this right. We can’t get this wrong.”

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Dwight Evans, State Representative, Democrat, (203rd District):

“A great day for the people of PA!!!!”

Chaka Fattah, U.S. Representative, Democrat, (2nd District):

“Today’s ruling in Commonwealth Court is a win for all Pennsylvania voters and for American democracy as we approach the 2012 Presidential election. As I said from the moment it was enacted, Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law is ill-advised and anti-democratic. Questions remain on how or if all provisions will be enforced in future elections.

“Because of Judge Simpson’s injunction, voters will, on November 6 at least, have unfettered access to the ballot box. But Pennsylvanians should always remember those who attempted to block that access to our precious vote and who have sought to disenfranchise large numbers of voters.”

Cindy Bass, Philadelphia City Councilwoman, Democrat (8th District):

“Today’s decision on the so-called voter ID law is momentous for the voters of Pennsylvania; those who are eligible to vote in the Nov. 6 election can do so without showing photo identification. I am both relieved and excited that this decision has come down on the side of democracy and the fundamental right of voters. Voting is the most important right of citizenship and now every voter in Pennsylvania will be free to exercise that right. … Regardless of party affiliation, I support ensuring any voter eligible to cast a ballot has the right to do so.”

Curtis Jones, Philadelphia City Councilman, Democrat (4th District):

“Once again, justice prevails. I am pleased Judge Simpson has issued an injunction on the voter ID law allowing each and every voter the ability to cast a vote on Election Day. This is a landmark ruling of our time and I look forward to being a part of history, being relevant, and continuing to encourage Philadelphia to be the vote, and seeing many faces at the polls on Nov. 6. …

“BetheVOTE on the 6th! Be relevant, be a part of history. I’ll see you at the polls!”

J.P. Miranda, nominee, state representative, Democrat (197th District):

“The protocols placed on voting via the Voter ID law is the civil-rights issue of my time. Judge Simpson’s well thought out decision and injunction has restored my faith in our justice system for those who were targeted by this legislation: seniors, minority communities and students. I look forward to casting my vote on Nov. 6 and empowering Philadelphia to exercise their right that we all came so close to being belittled and diminished. Last but not least, I, personally, would like to take this time to thank every individual who fought to restore our Voting rights, and every volunteer who assisted someone in need so they may cast their vote. This is the Philadelphia I am so proud to represent.”

Stephen Kinsey, nominee, state representative, Democrat (201st District):

“In review of Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson’s ruling today, I deem this ruling to only be a partial victory for Pennsylvanians. His ruling will allow for folks to vote without following Pennsylvania’s strict photo ID law this November. However, citizens of this commonwealth and organizations must continue the push to ensure that all Pennsylvanians who are eligible to vote [do so] and that those who still need photo ID get the ID. This battle is far from over!”

James Foster, candidate for Fattah’s U.S. Representative seat, independent:

“I have no problem with tightening up the rules and regulations of voter registration. In my opinion, there is no doubt there has been abuse of voting in various divisions over the years. However, this attempt to get this done quickly, in a haphazard fashion, was ill-planned and poorly thought out. It doesn’t reflect a good understanding of who would or wouldn’t qualify and the fact that they were not congizant of that led to the circumstances we see today.”

Pamela DeLissio, State Representative, Democrat (194th District): 

“I am pleased that the ruling will allow all voters to exercise their constitutionally protected right to vote on Nov. 6th. I have gone on record as supporting efforts to protect the integrity of the vote and have been critical that the implementation time line of under 8 months was never realistic. I am grateful that the court, on its subsequent review, ruled to not risk anyone being disenfranchised.”

Shirley Kitchen, State Senator, Democrat (3rd District): 

“Today’s ruling is a victory for voters’ rights in the upcoming election. The voter ID law was at best poorly handled by the Corbett administration and at worst a calculated scheme to suppress the votes of certain populations of people. The efforts to shove this law on voters for the General Election were disgraceful, especially considering hundreds of thousands of voters — many of them elderly, low-income, veterans, and students — were impacted by this restrictive law.” 

Rosita Youngblood, State Representative, Democrat (198th District): 

“We should all be pleased that no one’s vote will be suppressed in 2012, and that voters won’t be turned away from the polls due to rules they did not understand or have time to comply with. But we must not give up efforts to repeal this law, because voting is not a privilege – it is a fundamental right.”

NewsWorks will update this post as more reactions come in.

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