Court Decision on Voter ID Places Major Burden On County, Controller Wagner Says

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner expressed disappointment in today’s Commonwealth Court decision allowing Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law to go into effect, calling it a violation of citizens’ rights and an unfunded mandate on Allegheny County.

“The Commonwealth itself has stated that more than 100,000 voters in Allegheny County could face problems voting in November because of the ID law. Just one vote denied is irreparable harm,” Wagner said, “Moreover, counties are burdened with the cost of implementation and the duty to prevent chaos at the polls in November.”

Wagner filed an Amicus brief with Commonwealth Court in support of the challenge to the law pointing out the burden it places on Allegheny County, the second largest County in the Commonwealth. With over 1,300 polling locations staffed with more than 7,000 election workers, the law places significant costs for training and implementation on the County. These costs are estimated at more than $10 million statewide.

“We will not stand for disenfranchisement in Allegheny County,” Wagner said. “I will be working to do all in my power to increase voter participation despite the challenges this law poses. This is a clear reminder that elections have consequences.”

Wagner now plans to work collaboratively with County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, County Council, and other officials on an aggressive timeline to ensure that every resource is available to guarantee County residents their right to vote.

“Voting is a sacred right in our democracy and no official of our government - in the courts, the legislature, or the Governor’s office - should be so brazen to deprive Pennsylvanians of their participation,” Wagner said, “Our soldiers throughout history and still today are sacrificing their lives to protect that right.”