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Pennsylvania Voters Don’t Need ID to Go to the Polls – For Now

Pennsylvania Voters Don’t Need ID to Go to the Polls – For Now

In a highly anticipated ruling, Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr. ruled the state cannot enforce its restrictive voter ID requirement until after the November presidential election.

The ruling is a qualified win for voting rights advocates. The ruling strikes two provisions of the law that would have required voters without sufficient identification to show their IDs within six days of voting or appear before the county board of elections. State poll workers will still be allowed to asked voters for photo identification, but voters who are unable to produce ID that matches the bill’s requirements will still be allowed to cast a ballot, and the state will still be allowed to educate voters about the new ID requirement.

The ruling applies only to the election this November. A trial on the merits of the law will be scheduled later in the year, said Simpson.

The next great task will be for civil rights groups to educate poll workers and citizens to prevent possible harassment at the polls and make sure the law is not wrongly enforced at the expense of voting rights.

This was Simpson’s second look at the law. He had previously refused to block the voter ID law despite his “sympathy” for those “burdened by the voter ID requirement.” Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court overturned that ruling and ordered Simpson to issue an injunction blocking the law from going into effect unless the state could prove it was providing “liberal access” to photo identification and that there would “be no voter disenfranchisement” on Election Day.

This latest ruling makes Pennsylvania the eleventh state to have either a state or federal court block a voter suppression law passed by Republicans since the 2010 election. It’s a sign our system of checks and balances is working and that the courts are doing their job to protect fundamental rights from legislative interference. But given the veracity with which Republicans have pushed these laws, and given the number of states with measures on the ballot in November, a victory like the one in Pennsylvania should simply give us a second to catch our breath and re-group, because the battle to secure voting rights for everyone is far from finished.

Related Stories:

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Throws Voters A Bone

Judge Wont Block PA Voter ID Bill, Appeal Imminent

Pennsylvania Voter ID Trial Starts Under Federal Scrutiny

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Photo from JasonLangheine via flickr.

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82 comments

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8:48PM PST on Jan 17, 2013

Thank you for info.

8:47PM PST on Jan 17, 2013

Thank you for info.

12:11PM PDT on Oct 22, 2012

Yes everyone, forget the scientific studies, investigations by the Justice Department, and all of the facts and evidence, instead listen to Darryll G. because he "knows" first hand about all of these people coming into Florida to vote from other states.

That's right folks, ignore facts and simply accept Darryll deluded anecdote instead.

9:12AM PDT on Oct 22, 2012

Friedrich, BULL, here in florida we've had to show id for the last 5 elections and nobody complained once and they said that quite a few were denied the vote because they had already voted from another state, so as fa as i can see your just complaining because your to lazy to get id

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Friedrich left a comment on the following article:



Pennsylvania Voters Don't Need ID to Go to the Polls - For Now
Voter fraud is a fraud. From 2000 to 2008 the Bush administration sent a directive to all AGs to make prosecution of voter fraud a top priority. All that could be uncovered was 10 POSSIBLE cases out of all ballots cast during this time frame. You may remember the AGs who resigned in protest over this manufactured Republican witch hunt. For a party that says it stands for democracy and freedom, it's amazing the lengths Republican's will go to deny the right to vote for America's most vulnerable citizens.

3:59AM PDT on Oct 20, 2012

Voter fraud is a fraud. From 2000 to 2008 the Bush administration sent a directive to all AGs to make prosecution of voter fraud a top priority. All that could be uncovered was 10 POSSIBLE cases out of all ballots cast during this time frame. You may remember the AGs who resigned in protest over this manufactured Republican witch hunt.
For a party that says it stands for democracy and freedom, it's amazing the lengths Republican's will go to deny the right to vote for America's most vulnerable citizens.

3:54AM PDT on Oct 20, 2012

What about the recent news stories about voter fraud? Ids would have prevented it. What is so horrible about showing some kind of id? We have been doing it in VA for years and no one has been denied their right to vote.

4:48AM PDT on Oct 13, 2012

Good news!

6:38PM PDT on Oct 11, 2012

well just don't try to buy cigs or alcohol, those DO require ID. Voting is far less important.

9:33AM PDT on Oct 6, 2012

and for further info, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_ID_laws

9:30AM PDT on Oct 6, 2012

this is from propolitica 2011, this is not a republican news feed, In late September, an analysis [15] by Reuters and research firm Ipsos of data culled from 20,000 voter interviews found that those lacking proper ID were less likely to vote anyway, “regardless of state law changes.”

Among those who said they were “certain to vote,” only 1 percent said they did not have proper ID while another 1 percent said they were uncertain whether they had the proper ID.

The analysis also found that those who lack valid photo ID tended to be young people, those without college educations, Hispanics and the poor.

State figures also can be hard to nail down. In Pennsylvania, nearly 760,000 registered voters, or 9.2 percent of the state's 8.2 million voter base, don't own state-issued ID cards, according to an analysis of state records [16] by the Philadelphia Inquirer. State officials, on the other hand, place this number at between 80,000 and 90,000.

In Indiana and Georgia, states with the earliest versions of photo ID laws, about 1,300 provisional votes were discarded in the 2008 general election, later analysis [17] has revealed.

As for the potential effect on the election, one analysis by Nate Silver at the New York Times' FiveThirtyEight blog estimates they could decrease voter turnout anywhere between 0.8 and 2.4 percent [18]. It doesn't sound like a very wide margin, but it all depends on the electoral landscape [19].

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