A Delaware County election official is vowing not to enforce the state’s controversial voter ID law as a court challenge on the law begins.
Christopher Broach Sr., a judge of elections in Colwyn Borough, expressed his opposition to the law in an e-mail to media outlets Wednesday, according to the Delaware County Daily Times.
“I wanted to publicly acknowledge that as judge of elections in Precinct 1 of Colwyn Borough that I will not comply with the new voting laws as they are unconstitutional,” wrote Broach, a Democrat.
Pennsylvania is one of 11 states to pass voter identification laws since 2010, with the commonwealth’s being among the strictest. The Republican-backed law has come under scrutiny from Democrats and voting rights groups, which claim the law would disenfranchise the elderly, college students, minorities and low-income residents before a big presidential election. Republicans claim the law is necessary to prevent voter fraud.
By the Pennsylvania State Department’s own estimate, nearly 800,000 eligible voters do not have photo identification. Voters would be required to show a driver’s license or other form of government-issued identification before casting a ballot.
A Commonwealth Court judge in Harrisburg heard opening arguments Wednesday in a case of groups who have challenged the law. The judge has said he will issue a ruling in mid-August.
Broach said he will abide by the previous law, which only required identification for those voting for the first time.
“I am taking the stand against the new Republican voter law and hoping that anyone nationally whom has been elected to an office with the title of judge will do just that,” he wrote.
The state department said any election official who violates the law could face severe penalties, including a $1,000 fine and imprisonment.
Nonetheless, Broach said he is firmly committed to civil disobedience.
“I’m utterly concerned, but so was Rosa Parks when she decided to sit down on a bus when the law said she shouldn’t,” he told the Daily Times.