Divided along party lines, Allegheny County's election board voted this afternoon to file a lawsuit challenging the state's new Voter Identification law.The fact that Councilmember Heidelbaugh would vote against the measure is hardly surprising considering what's found on her election website:
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."
Heather Heidelbaugh has been an advocate of smaller government, lower taxes and has stood up to those engaged in voter fraud around this Commonwealth.As much as I like Attorney Heidelbaugh, she's blurring the lines here. Her complaint against ACORN was about voter registration not voter fraud.
And there's scant actual voter fraud in Pennsylvania.
Back to the P-G:
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.
Here's Article VII Section 1 of the State Constitution outlining voting qualifications:
Every citizen 21 years of age, possessing the following qualifications, shall be entitled to vote at all elections subject, however, to such laws requiring and regulating the registration of electors as the General Assembly may enact. 1. He or she shall have been a citizen of the United States at least one month. 2. He or she shall have resided in the State ninety (90) days immediately preceding the election. 3. He or she shall have resided in the election district where he or she shall offer to vote at least sixty (60) days immediately preceding the election, except that if qualified to vote in an election district prior to removal of residence, he or she may, if a resident of Pennsylvania, vote in the election district from which he or she removed his or her residence within sixty (60) days preceding the election.That's right. Nothing about showing any photo ID.
We'll see how it plays out in the courts. But let's be clear. This bill is not about "protecting the integrity of the election system" (with only 4 prosecutions of voter fraud out of the millions of votes since 2008? C'mon.) It is about making it more difficult for people to vote Democratic.
Simple as that.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I know both Heather Heidelbaugh (being a fill-in guest on 4802) and Andrew Szefi (I worked in an office where he was an attorney a long time ago) but I've had no contact with him in a decade.