SSN Commentary

How Do We Fix Democracy in Pennsylvania and Elsewhere? Local Elections

Policy field

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Franklin and Marshall College

Originally published as: Van Gosse, "How Do We Fix Democracy in Pennsylvania and Elsewhere? Local Elections,"  The Philadelphia Inquirer, January 10, 2020.

 In recent years, 10 state legislatures have pursued restrictive “voter identification” requirements that target the poor, the elderly, persons of color, and students. Efforts to limit early voting, locate polling places in ways that disadvantage large groups of voters, and remove large numbers of people from voter rolls are also becoming more common in the run-up to the 2020 election. All in all, these moves add up to a concerted attack on our democracy.

So far, Pennsylvania has avoided these restrictions on democracy. A 2012 Republican attempt to pass a sweeping “Voter ID” law was struck down by the courts. It didn’t help that its principal sponsor, state House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, was caught on video saying it would “allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania” by disenfranchising Democratic-leaning voters.