Opponents of voter ID law rally ahead of trial

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Opponents of Pennsylvania’s controversial voter ID law rallied Thursday at the Capitol ahead of next week’s trial on the measure.

National NAACP President Benjamin Jealous appeared at the rally, calling on those in attendance to show up at Commonwealth Court Monday.

“Well, I’m here today to say that Harrisburg is ground zero for the fight for voting rights in the north,” said Jealous. “This judge needs to see, this state needs to see, our nation needs to see, just how important this trial is.”

Nils Frederiksen, press secretary for Pennsylvania’s Office of General Counsel, said lawyers for the state will try to show next week that the system for issuing photo IDs to people needing them has improved since the law passed last year.

“Anybody who can register to vote in Pennsylvania can obtain a free ID an can do it rather quickly and easily, with the same information that they need to register to vote,” said Frederiksen.

Supporters of the law say it’s a measure meant to boost confidence in elections and modernize them. Opponents view it as an effort to disenfranchise groups of voters such as the poor, minorities and the elderly.

Last year, opponents successfully mounted a legal challenge to the law, keeping it from going into effect for the November 2012 election and, eventually, this year’s primary.

Regardless of what happens in Commonwealth Court, people involved in the case on both sides expect the issue to reach the Pennsylvania Supreme Court once again.

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