Pennsylvania Judge Stalls Voter ID Law

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Oct 2, 2012

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Pennsylvania Judge Robert Simpson issued a partial preliminary injunction against a voter ID law today, a law that he had previously upheld. Among other provisions, the Pennsylvania voter ID law requires all voters bring a photo ID to the polls in order to vote. Judge Simpson’s ruling today effectively eliminates that requirement for the upcoming November election. The photo ID requirement itself could still be upheld upon appeal to the state supreme court, but that is not likely to happen within the next five weeks.

In reversing his earlier decision, Judge Simpson explained that his original decision rested on the confidence that public officials had eased the requirements for obtaining a photo ID and, therefore, many more people would be able to get a photo ID before the election. Upon second review, however, fewer photo IDs than he had expected have actually been issued, leading to a concern about the disenfranchisement of many Pennsylvania voters in the upcoming election.

The Pennsylvania voter ID law is one of many elections laws being challenged right up to the November election. In a close election, and particularly in swing states, the impact of these laws could very well decide the fate of a candidate or an entire party for the next two years. As the stakes become high, each and every battle over these laws takes on nearly epic proportions.

For the November election, Pennsylvanian election workers can still ask for an ID, but photo IDs will not be required. You can find more information about Pennsylvania voting requirements, locations and registration at VotesPA.

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