George RR Martin

Here's what's happening in the world of Pennsylvania voter ID today as we await the Commonwealth Court decision:

First off, George R.R. Martin (above), the author of the Game Of Thrones books, is ripping mad about the laws in Pa and elsewhere. From a blog post on his site found by HuffPost:

But I would be remiss if I do not at least make passing mention of how depressed, disgusted, and, yes, angry I've become as I watch the ongoing attempts at voter suppression in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa, and other states where Republicans and their Teabagger allies control key seats of power.

It is one thing to attempt to win elections. But trying to do so by denying the most basic and important right of any American citizen to hundreds and thousands of people, on entirely spurious grounds... that goes beyond reprehensible. That is despicable.

About half of the voter ID bills introduced nationwide were tied to the conservative group ALEC, according to the latest report from journalism students at News21:

A News21 analysis found that more than half of the 62 bills were sponsored by members or conference attendees of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a Washington-based, tax-exempt organization.

Pennsylvania’s law, which is counted among that group, was sponsored by Republican State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, an ALEC member. The law has been challenged in court and a decision is expected this week. Signed into law on March 14, the law requires an acceptable photo ID.

Metcalfe, from Butler County, said he had been a member of ALEC for more than a decade and had found it helpful for public and private sectors to share public-policy ideas.

He said that his interest in voter ID had always been “outside of ALEC” and that his bill was modeled after an Indiana law but with some tweaks based on testimony at hearings and input from Pennsylvania residents.

“We knew the Indiana law was upheld by the Supreme Court,” he said. “I’m not sure how much ALEC influenced Indiana law.”

PennDOT offices are still playing catchup when it comes to producing IDs for voters. In Luzerne County, PennDOT workers aren't being clear to voters that the IDs are supposed to be free, according to the Times-Leader.

The WSJ reviews competing books on the matter by their editorial board member John Fund (pro voter ID) and law professor Richard Hasen.

PBS' "Frontline" has a voter ID cheat sheet on what's going on nationwide. Pa's AFL-CIO put out a new study on the impacts of the new rules on the state's seniors.

Republican supporters of the bill are increasingly saying that critics should spend less time complaining about voter ID and more time educating voters on its requirments. That was the point of Pa's GOP chairman Rob Gleason in a letter to the Post-Gazette today and Gov. Tom Corbett on a radio show yesterday. From WITF:

Gov. Corbett is chiding the parties suing the state, implying they’re wasting time trying to block the law he said is being implemented to ensure it doesn’t negatively affect registered voters. “What we heard in the testimony in the courtroom were the people saying, ‘well we can’t – they can’t get their photo ID,’ and they were there in the courtroom, rather than, ‘We can help you get a photo ID,’” said Corbett on the Radio Pennsylvania show, “Ask the Governor.”

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