Voter ID

Third and State This Week: Court Halts Voter ID Law, Changing the Subject on Payday Lending and Paying the Boss to Work

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a court decision halting enforcement of the Voter ID Law in the November election, an effort to change the subject on payday lending, a report on rising student debt, a lawsuit against the state to restore General Assistance and much more!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On voter ID, we highlighted a statement from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC) on a Commonwealth Court decision halting enforcement of the Voter ID Law in the November election. Chris Lilienthal also highlighted MSNBC's coverage of PBPC's recent report on the state's flawed implementation of the Voter ID Law.
  • On payday lending, Mark Price wrote about a recent state Senate hearing on the subject and why changing the subject doesn't make high-interest payday lending any better an idea in Pennsylvania.
  • On education, Jamar Thrasher blogged about a Pew Research Center report on the growing burden of student debt especially among the lowest-income students.
  • On jobs, Mark Price explained how the story of a Bucks County manufacturer who is finding it difficult to recruit workers made him think of a joke about parrots and economists. He also broke down the employment picture in Allentown.
  • On state tax policy, we shared a video from Reuters exploring the problems with programs that allow certain businesses to keep the income taxes paid by employees. The Pennsylvania House is considering a similar program.
  • On public welfare, Mark Price blogged about a lawsuit aimed at restoring Pennsylvania's General Assistance program.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Court Ruling an Acknowledgement of Flaws in Voter ID Implementation

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A Commonwealth Court ruling today has halted enforcement of Pennsylvania's Voter ID Law in the November election. Sharon Ward, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center, put out this statement on the decision:

The court’s decision is welcome news and an acknowledgement that the implementation of Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law has been inadequate and has needlessly put the voting rights of many Pennsylvanians at risk. The decision allows voters, troubled over the hardship involved in obtaining an ID, to rest easier tonight.

This decision is an important but temporary fix. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has documented persistent and widespread confusion over this law among PennDOT staff and voters seeking IDs. The commonwealth must address these problems and demonstrate it is capable of constructing a clear system that gets eligible voters the ID they will need. If it cannot do so, the commonwealth must reconsider the law altogether.

You can read the center's most recent report on flaws in the commonwealth's implementation of voter ID.

Must Watch: MSNBC Highlights Voter ID Confusion in PA

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Last week, we told you about a new Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center report on flaws in the state's implementation of the Voter ID Law. On Saturday, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry highlighted the report in a segment on voter ID in Pennsylvania. Watch the short clip below. If you're craving more, click on the video to link to a longer 12-minute segment on voter ID laws across the country.

Third and State This Week: Confusion About Voter ID, Payday Lending in the Senate and Poverty-wage Jobs

This week at Third and State, we blogged about a new report on the Voter ID Law, a bill to legalize high-interest payday lending now before the state Senate, poverty-wage jobs in Pennsylvania, and much more!

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

  • On voter ID, Sharon Ward blogged about a new report from the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center on confusion surrounding the new law among PennDOT staff and voters alike. You can check out PBPC's full report here.
  • On payday lending, Mark Price wrote about legislation before the Senate to legalize payday loans with annual interest rates of 369%. He also explained that the writer of a letter to the editor in the Patriot-News supportive of the bill forgot to mention her group represents payday lenders.
  • On economic development, Mark Price wrote about local incentives in a Tennessee town intended to lure web developers.
  • On poverty, Mark Price reported that about 24% of Pennsylvania workers earned poverty wages in 2011.
  • On monetary policy, Mark Price highlighted two views on what the Federal Reserve can do to boost the economy. 
  • On education, Mark Price shared an Allentown Morning Call column offering a midterm report card on Governor Corbett's education policies.
  • And in a Friday Funny, we bring you an article by the satirical newspaper The Onion on how voter suppression in Pennsylvania isn't as fun as it used to be. 

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

Friday Funny: "I Suppressed a Vote Today"

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The OnionBefore you head out for the weekend, we pass on a little Friday Funny from The OnionWith Pennsylvania's Voter ID Law in the news this week, it seems only appropriate to share this fake story about a Pennsylvania elections official lamenting that the vote he just suppressed may not even make a difference:

“Obama’s going to win here no matter who I disenfranchise, so what’s the point?” said [fake elections official Donald] Tobin, adding that if he lived in a true swing state like Florida or Ohio, his vote suppression might actually count for something. “Honestly, what’s it say about our electoral system when, even if I exercise my right to turn an elderly or enfeebled U.S. citizen away because he doesn’t have a driver’s license, it basically means nothing. That’s not democracy.” Though he was clearly disappointed, Tobin decided he would place an “I Suppressed a Vote Today” sticker on his jacket collar, anyway.

Confused About Voter ID? You’re Not Alone

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The eyes of the nation are truly turned to Pennsylvania as the ACLU is back in court today challenging Pennsylvania’s strictest-in-the-nation Voter ID Law. The Commonwealth Court is hearing evidence to determine whether the new Department of State voter ID will do the trick to ensure that anyone who needs an ID can get one, for free, in time to vote in November. If the state fails to make that case, the judge could issue an injunction to prevent the law from taking effect.

Early evidence seems to indicate that could happen. As Capitolwire.com has reported (subscription), Judge Simpson indicated Tuesday he will consider an injunction and has asked lawyers to be prepared to provide input on its scope and force. 

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center released a report on this topic exactly. The report, Moving Target: Pennsylvania’s Flawed Implementation of the Voter ID Law, asks the question: "How is PennDOT handling the new Department of State ID?" The answer, in layman’s terms, is simple: Not so good.

Third and State This Week: Voter ID Before Supreme Court, Fewer Uninsured Americans & State Revenue Update

This week at Third and State, we blogged about Voter ID arguments before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, new Census data showing a decrease in the number of uninsured Americans, state revenue collections through August, and much more.

 IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

  • On the Voter ID Law, Jamar Thrasher wrote about arguments before the state Supreme Court in a legal challenge to the law during which a few justices raised concerns about the number of voters impacted and asked why the commonwealth was rushing to implement the law for the fall election.
  • On health care, Chris Lilienthal blogged about Census Bureau data released this week showing that more Americans were insured in 2011 than the year before, thanks largely to provisions of the Affordable Care Act. 
  • On income inequality and poverty, Mark Price wrote about the bad news in the Census data — incomes are down and poverty is up in Pennsylvania compared to before the recession. Chris had also blogged about what to expect in the Census data on poverty, income and health insurance.
  • On state budget and taxes, Michael Wood blogged about state revenue collections through August but noted that September will tell a fuller story about the state's revenue picture.
  • Finally, Mark Price had a Morning Must Read highlighting news stories on the Chicago teachers strike and an analysis of the job growth performance of past presidential administrations.

More blog posts next week. Keep us bookmarked and join the conversation!

PA Supreme Court Takes Up Voter ID Challenge

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As the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments today in a case challenging the state's strict Voter ID Law, it was Justice Seamus McCaffery who observed that his identification as a justice of the Supreme Court would not be acceptable ID for him to vote under this law.

Chaos at the PennDOT

Now that Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson has given the green light to Pennsylvania’s strictest in-the-nation Voter ID Law, tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians will have to make their way to their local PennDOT office to get a photo ID. We can tell you, it won’t be easy.

Friday Funny: Voter ID and Mosquito Hunting

This comes to us via Twitter from Dr. Chris Hughes, a critical care and hospice physician in Pittsburgh and the state director of Doctors for America. He likens the state's new Voter ID Law to Monty Python's rather enthusiastic mosquito hunters. Watch the clip and tell us what you think.

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