Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Say what now?
Judge Robert Simpson of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled Tuesday that for the presidential election of Nov. 6, voters in Pennsylvania could be asked to produce the newly required photo IDs, but if they did not have them could still go ahead and vote. Pennsylvania Judge Puts Voter ID Law on Hold for Election - NYTimes.com:
The judge, Robert Simpson, who upheld the law in August when it was challenged by liberal and civil rights groups, was instructed by the state’s Supreme Court two weeks ago to hold further hearings. He was told to focus on the question of whether enough had been done to ensure “liberal access” to the picture ID cards or alternatives.
Judge Simpson said in his Tuesday ruling that for the presidential election of Nov. 6, voters in Pennsylvania could be asked to produce the newly required photo IDs, but if they did not have them could still go ahead and vote.
“While we’re happy that voters in Pennsylvania will not be turned away if they do not have an ID, we are concerned that the ruling will allow election workers to ask for ID at the polls and this could cause confusion,” said Penda D. Hair, co-director of Advancement Project, one of the groups that challenged the law. “This injunction serves as a mere Band-Aid for the law’s inherent problems, not an effective remedy.”
"The decision could still be appealed to the state Supreme Court." Count on it.
Rick Hasen at Election Law Blog has more. CORRECTED Breaking News: PA Trial Court Requires State to Count Ballots from Voters Without ID This Election, Now Updated:
You can find the judge’s 18 page order here.
In a nutshell, the judge has found that there will still be at least some voter disenfranchisement caused by the new law, because it does not appear that Pa. officials could get id’s into the hands of everyone who wants one before the election. The earlier PA Supreme Court decision required the judge to enjoin enforcement of the law if he found disenfranchisement on remand, and he has.
But the judge enjoined only part of the law. UPDATE and CORRECTION: The state may still ask for id. But it must accept a ballot even if the voter fails to have id. It will not be necessary to cast a provisional ballot. [This is a correction from en earlier post.] This may cause confusion at the polls, as the state will still have poll workers ask for ID, even though a voter can vote without it.
The state may appeal. I expect any state argument along these lines to be rejected by the state Supreme Court, given the last ruling.
And after the election there will be a full trial on whether or not to permanently enjoin the law. I predict that after this election, the PA courts will in fact uphold the voter ID law, perhaps even on a unanimous vote of the state Supreme Court.