Pennsylvania judge blocks enforcement of voter ID law in November’s general election

A Pennsylvania judge issued a preliminary injunction today blocking the full enforcement of the controversial voter identification law in November’s general election. 

The injunction will allow registered voters who do not have the required photo identifications to cast their ballots on Election Day.

However, Judge Robert Simpson ruled that election officials may still be allowed to ask voters to produce their photo IDs at the polls but must allow voters to cast their ballots regardless.

Read more: Pennsylvania Supreme Court punts voter ID law back to lower court 

Simpson reversed his earlier ruling after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered him to reconsider his decision in light of irrefutable and disturbing evidence of the state’s failure to properly implement the voter ID law, known as Act 18 or House Bill 934.

State officials admitted to the Supreme Court that state agencies are applying more onerous standards than what the law requires and that “qualified members of the voting public will be disenfranchised in the upcoming General Election.”

Read more: Pennsylvania’s voter ID law under scrutiny

Had the voter ID law been allowed to proceed, hundreds of thousands of registered voters who can’t afford or obtain the necessary photo IDs will not be able to vote.

Those at highest risk of disenfranchisement are women, elderly, disabled, indigent, and non-white voters, who are also more likely to support Democrats over Republicans.

In June, Pennsylvania House Republican Leader Mike Turzai bragged that the voter ID law is “gonna allow Governor [Mitt] Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania”.

Democrats and civil rights advocates applauded Simpson’s decision but warned that this setback will not stop Republican lawmakers from pushing through photo ID and other voting requirements designed to restrict voter access and participation in elections.

“We should celebrate today’s victory but remain vigilant in the coming weeks to ensure that this Republican tactic does not silence the will of Pennsylvania’s voters,” Kevin Washo, Executive Director Pennsylvania Democratic Party, wrote in an email to supporters. “Make no mistake – Voter ID could be the law in Pennsylvania for elections to come.”

This graph illustrates the myriad of steps prospective voters must go through to obtain an approved photo ID mandated by Pennsylvania’s voter ID law. SOURCE: Applewhite v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

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One Comment on “Pennsylvania judge blocks enforcement of voter ID law in November’s general election

  1. Pingback: Election 2012: Voter Protection | What The Folly?!

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