Judge Postpones PA Voter ID Law Until After Presidential Election

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Kathryn Whitecotton covers her personal information as she shows her Pennsylvania drivers license and her address update card outside the Penndot Drivers License Center in Butler, Pa. on Sept. 26, 2012. Whitecotton went to the center to see if she needed to get a voter photo ID card since the address on her drivers license did not match her current address as shown on the license update. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

This morning, a Pennsylvania judge ruled that the state’s controversial voter ID law will not be enforced during this year’s presidential election because the state has not done enough to ensure that all eligible voters have the necessary documents in time to vote. Earlier this month, the state Supreme Court directed Judge Robert Simpson to affirm that no voter disenfranchisement would take place on November 6.

In late August state officials were instructed to get voters emergency ID cards. State officials had estimated that about 100,000 people lacked the ID required to vote, although others claimed the number could be as high as 750,000. Judge Simpson’s ruling followed two days of testimony about long lines and ill-informed clerks hampering the state’s last-minute efforts to make it easier for voters to get a valid photo ID.

The New York Times reports that “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.” The case will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court, but Simpson’s ruling on the law will probably be the last before Election Day.

For now, the law’s opponents are calling this a “win.”

Philadelphia’s City Paper pointed to the “relentless and accurate media coverage” as a significant factor in bringing about the judge’s decision. They also credited the civil rights and community organizations who worked together to “highlight how the poor, non-white and elderly would be disproportionately impacted by the controversial measure.”

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