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Viviette Applewhite, lead plaintiff
Viviette Applewhite, lead plaintiff
The Hon. Robert Simpson of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania has issued an opinion and order today preventing election day officials from enforcing those portions of Pennsylvania's new voter ID law which would require registered voters lacking photo IDs to vote on provisional ballots (with six subsequent days to verify identity). Judge Simpson rejected Plaintiffs' efforts to block officials from asking voters to show photo id, but ID or not every registered voter gets to vote on a machine. Judge Simpson:
I expected more photo IDs to have been issued by this time. For this reason, I accept Petitioners’ argument that in the remaining five weeks before the general election, the gap between the photo IDs issued and the estimated need will not be closed. I reject Respondents’ argument that my initial estimate was overblown.

Consequently, I am not still convinced in my predictive judgment that there will be no voter disenfranchisement arising out of the Commonwealth’s implementation of a voter identification requirement for purposes of the upcoming election. Under these circumstances, I am obliged to enter a preliminary injunction.

As to Plaintiffs' request to enjoin the asking-for-IDs, Judge Simpson argued that it was unnecessary to accomplish the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's goal of avoiding voter disenfranchisement, and could be useful in continuing the transition to a voter ID regime in the future:
I reject the underlying assertion that the offending activity is the request to produce photo ID; instead, I conclude that the salient offending conduct is voter disenfranchisement. As a result, I will not restrain election officials from asking for photo ID at the polls; rather, I will enjoin enforcement of those parts of Act 18 which directly result in disenfranchisement.
I would expect Gov. Corbett to appeal this order. Such an appeal will likely be heard during the week of October 15-19, when the Supreme Court convenes again for oral argument.

Originally posted to Adam B on Tue Oct 02, 2012 at 08:14 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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