Guaranteeing our right to vote
Gov. Tom Corbett has until Monday to decide whether to repeal the Commonwealth Court's rejection of the Voter I.D. Law, which it found to be illegal and unconstitutional.
The governor should let the ruling stand.
At the federal level, Congress and the administration should act on several fronts to expand voting rights.
A bipartisan group of senators and representatives has introduced the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014 to partially restore voting rights protections that were eliminated in a Supreme Court ruling last June.
The court eliminated Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which required clearance from the Department of Justices for voting changes in specific jurisdictions with histories of voting rights violations. It had covered all of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia and parts of California, Florida, Michigan, New York, North Carolina and South Dakota.
Under the new bill, DOJ clearance for voting changes would be needed in any state where five or more voting changes had been invalidated by a federal court in the preceding five years. The new formula, if applied now, would apply to Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
The bill is a compromise and is not as comprehensive as the section struck by the Supreme Court. But it's a reasonable standard, preserving key protections. It should pass.
Meanwhile, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration has presented its recommendations to increase participation in elections. They include expanding online voter registration, state exchanges of voting lists for accuracy, increased pre-Election Day voting, updating certification standards for computerized voting equipment and funding acquisition in local jurisdictions, and other procedural matters to assure easy voter access to the polls.
Adopting the recommendations itself would be an exercise in good governance that could increase confidence in the government and voter participation.