Within hours of a judge passing down a decision upholding Pennsylvania's strict new voter ID law, the state announced that it was scrapping two voter registration initiatives, in part due to strains placed on its resources by the ID measure.
According to a report from the Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania will not go forward with programs to expand online voter and absentee ballot registration. A spokesman for the Department of State told the Inquirer that county election officials had expressed concerns about being able to manage the initiatives on top of the state's controversial new voter ID requirements. Earlier reports have suggested that the state has a lot of work left to do in order to fully implement the measure.
Stephanie Singer, the top election official in Philadelphia, criticized the decision, however, saying claims that the voter registration programs created more work for election workers was unfounded.
"It's a shame," Singer told the Inquirer of the Department of State's decision. "These are the kinds of reforms that help us do our jobs better. Less time on paperwork means more time training election officials and following up on issues that arise."
Absentee voting and online registration are frequently used by voters who have limited mobility or access to polling stations. Studies have suggested that such systems reduce cost, workload and inaccuracies in the voting process.
Pennsylvania's latest move comes as critics of voter ID continue to accuse the state of working to obstruct the voting process and discourage voter registration. Attorneys have appealed the ruling upholding the state's law.