It's looking good for voters this year in the state of Pennsylvania, if opponents of the state Republicans' new polling place Photo ID restrictions are correct in their predictions, in any case.
Last week, on the heels of the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Carole Aichele (the woman in charge of implementing the new law in the Keystone State), admitting, under oath on the witness stand, that she didn't even "know what the law says," we predicted the statute was likely to "go down in flames", thanks to the legal challenge brought against it by the ACLU and other civil liberties groups on behalf of 10 plaintiffs who will have trouble casting their once-legal vote this November if the law is allowed to stand.
Aichele's admission followed a remarkable stipulation by the Commonwealth, before the trial began, that, in fact, "There have been no investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania"; that they "are not aware of any incidents of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania and do not have direct personal knowledge of in person voter fraud elsewhere"; and that the state would offer no evidence "that in person voter fraud is likely to occur in November 2012 in the absence of the Photo ID law."
Of course, the extraordinarily rare case of in-person impersonation at the polling place remains the only type of voter fraud that can possibly be deterred by such laws, even as data from the state reveals that the once-legal votes of some 1.6 million formerly eligible Pennsylvania voters could be imperiled if the law is allowed to stand. By way of comparison, President Obama was said to have won the state in 2008 by just over 600,000 votes.
We're not the only ones with the sense that the GOP's voter suppression law is likely to "go down in flames" in this trial, which had its closing arguments last week.
Penda D. Hair, co-director of the Advancement Project, one of the several civil rights groups who cooperated in bringing the complaint against the state, believes "this should be a slam dunk victory for plaintiffs which should result in a preliminary injunction."
Based on what actually happened at this trial --- and didn't --- she may have good reason for that prediction...