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State Judge Strikes down Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law
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Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley has struck down Pennsylvania’s voter ID law observing, “Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election.” McGinley also observed that the Voter ID law, rather than furthering the goal of a free and fair election, posed a “substantial threat” to hundreds of thousands of potential voters.

The Voter ID law required that voters show a state-issued photo ID before casting their ballots. While those supporting the measure hold it would reduce voting fraud, those opposing it hold the measure would disenfranchise minorities and the poor.

  
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The law was challenged by Viviette Applewhite and others including the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Pennsylvania State Conference and the Homeless Advocacy Project.

Applewhite was initially denied any relief by Judge Robert Simpson, who concluded that the problems could be solved by creating a new form of photo identification. The plaintiffs appealed to the State Supreme Court and had the denial order vacated. The Supreme Court remanded the matter back to the lower court with directions to “hold a hearing regarding Respondent’s implementation of the Voter ID Law, to assess whether the creation of the DOS ID protected against disenfranchisement and satisfied ‘liberal access’ compelled by the statute.”

Voters would now be able to satisfy identification requirements as before with their voter registration card, or other non-photo government-issued ID, as well as copies of a current utility bill, gun permit, bank statement or government check or paycheck, in addition to photo ID.

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The court opinion observed, “The overwhelming evidence reflects that there are hundreds of thousands of qualified voters who lack compliant ID.” And also that the state’s witness “estimated between 4% and 5% registered electors lack compliant photo ID, equating to 320,000-400,000.”

Summary:



Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley has struck down Pennsylvania’s voter ID law observing that the law posed a “substantial threat” to hundreds of thousands of potential voters, rather than furthering the goal of a free and fair election. The Voter ID law required that voters show a state-issued photo ID before casting their ballots.



 

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