Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson has ruled that that ID cannot be required in order for Pennsylvanians to vote in the upcoming November 6 election, though poll workers can still ask for it.
This suspends the rollout of the law passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett. Measures had been taken to make it easier for Pennsylvanians to obtain identification, but the judge wrote, “I question whether sufficient time now remains to attain the goal of liberal access….” However, the law has not been struck down.
The court was forced to reconsider the law after the Pennyslvania Supreme Court demanded a review of the restrictions.
The Nation’s Ari Berman recently told The National Memo that the law was designed to fight a “phantom menace”:
The state of Pennsylvania, which passed a voter ID law in 2012 that was purportedly designed to stop in-person voter fraud, admitted in a recent court filing: “there have been no investigations or prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania; and the parties do not have direct personal knowledge of any such investigations or prosecutions in other states.”
In 2008, 2,745,069 registered voters in Pennsylvania did not vote. But the state legislature acted after the 2010 election to make voting more difficult as part of a wave of voting restriction laws the likes of which have not been seen since the Civil Rights era.
Mitt Romney recently said he had a “secret” that made him sure that he was going to win the Keystone State. But the secret has been out for a while.
Mike Turzai, the Republican House Leader in Pennsylvania, famously revealed the true intention of the law at a Republican State Committee meeting earlier this year: “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania… done.”
This victory for the Voting Rights Act is one of several that have severely dampened the GOP’s apparent strategy of limiting access to the polls for Obama voters.
GOP has now lost court cases in every important swing state that passed voter suppression laws since 2010 (WI, OH, FL, PA)
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) October 2, 2012