The expense of it all
Besides suppressing the vote, Pennsylvania's new voter identification law has begun to ring up needless expenses for a supposedly cash-strapped state government.
Red House Communications of Pittsburgh has been awarded a $1.8 million contract to produce educational materials advising voters of the identification requirements, and of how to obtain the appropriate identification.
The new law makes such an effort mandatory, but the law itself is needless. Lawmakers who adopted the measure have yet to produce any evidence of the sort of fraud that the law purports to counter.
Meanwhile, the contract is not the only cost created by the law. Every county in the state must bear the cost of educating poll workers and enforcing the law, including the court costs of litigation that inevitably will arise from it.
The law also imposes costs on individuals who do not have the type of identification required by the law, which appears to contradict federal law that proscribes attaching costs to voting.
Rather than suppressing the vote, Pennsylvania lawmakers should be dedicated to expanding participation to as many people as possible. They should eliminate the new obstacle to voting and use taxpayers' money for more democratic causes.