October 31, 2008

Good News from Pennsylvania

By Mary Mancini

Pennsylvania does not have early voting and the turnout is expected to be heavy, so this good news from the Centre Daily Times is very welcome:

Pennsylvania election officials will make paper ballots available to voters if half the machines at a polling place break down, they said, declining to appeal a federal judge’s emergency order on Wednesday.

The state has previously required that paper ballots only be offered if all the machines break down, but several voter groups filed a lawsuit last week in which they said long lines at the polls could disenfranchise voters.

Congrats to John Bonifaz, legal director of Voter Action, who helped push this one through (along with the NAACP and others).

And you have to love a Judge who opines:

The distribution of paper ballots to voters when 50 percent of the machines are inoperable at a polling place is compelling to protect their constitutional right to vote, and no state interest has been advanced to reject it. Indeed, plaintiffs’ request for relief is reasonable and even modest in light of the grave injury they seek to prevent.

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