Coffee Break Ballot, July 25: Current Trends in Voting Rights

Pennsylvania calmed down a bit today, but the Keystone State voting rights fight is far from finished. Commonwealth Court heard opening arguments in a Pennsylvania ACLu suit that seeks to block the recently adopted photo voter ID law.

The hubbub around yesterday’s rally opposing the law spilled into today’s columns, articles and tweets.

Pennsylvania is on the front lines of the election year tussle over ballot access. The judge in the case has said he hopes to make a ruling on the constitutionality of the law by mid-August. Appeals are possible. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Justice has not yet announced whether its investigation into the state’s voter ID law will result in a separate, federal suit.

Nothing like a little court case to get reporters and civil rights activists riled.

What We’ve Been Reading

Pennsylvania voter ID case opens in state court,” (Robert Barnes, 07/25, Washington Post)

What’s the Deal with the Pennsylvania Voter-ID Law?” (Abby Rapoport, 07/25, The American Prospect)

Judge denies restraining order in Memphis suit to make library photo cards valid for voter ID,” (Richard Locker, 07/24, Memphis Commercial Appeal)

Key state of Colorado among worst prepared for voting problems, report finds,” (Stephanie Cordon, 07/25, CBSNews)

Why Today’s Voter ID Faceoff in Pennsylvania is Crucial,” (Brentin Mock, 07/25, The Nation / Colorlines)

No, Democrats Aren’t Trying to Register Kids and Dogs to Vote,” (Ryan J. Reilly, 07/25, Talking Points Memo)

Democratic Voting Enthusiasm Down Sharply From 2004, 2008,” (Jeffrey M. Jones, 07/25, Gallup)

Twitter Trends

Our four key voting rights search terms are booming today on Twitter. The Pennsylvania voter ID state trial, coupled with an explosive FOXNews story on a culture of vote buying in eastern Kentucky, has pushed voting rights social media conversation sharply up.

According to social media search engine, the biggest gainers today are “voter ID” and “voter fraud.” The Pennsylvania case ties both terms — it centers on a voter ID law, and the state announced it has no credible examples of voter fraud. The Kentucky story shows prosecuted election fraud – while in this case was not preventable through photo voter ID laws – that still proves troubling to election integrity activists.

We’d love to see this kind of momentum build well through the rest of the summer and into the fall elections.

But the Olympic opening ceremony is Friday, meaning attention will be diverted to London for a fortnight of athletic excitement.

For voting rights excitement, remember to follow us @WhoCanVote.