Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Moves Forward

From Robert Barnes at The Washington Post:

A Pennsylvania judge Wednesday allowed a Republican-backed law requiring voters to show IDs to go into effect starting this Election Day.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson said those challenging the law had failed to prove that it violates the state constitution by denying voters’ rights. He also disputed the challengers’ predictions of the number of voters at stake and said there is still time for those without proper ID to acquire it.

Pennsylvania, a crucial battleground in this year’s presidential election, is also the front line of a bitter split between many Democrats and Republicans over voting rights. Supporters of recent laws passed by several Republican legislatures requiring voters to show IDs say the measures protect the integrity of the electoral process by making sure only qualified voters cast ballots.

The case will be immediately appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. But Richard L. Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California at Irvine, said that although he disagrees with Simpson’s opinion and voter ID laws in general, he found the ruling well-reasoned and nonpartisan, and he predicted that it will be difficult to overturn.

The elected state Supreme Court is operating with only six members because one justice is suspended. A tie vote would uphold Simpson’s ruling. Although their decisions do not always follow partisan lines, the remaining justices are evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans.

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published this page in In The News 2012-08-15 21:00:00 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy