As we discussed here, Pennsylvania’s recently enacted Voter ID Law (“Law”) has been under judicial review. The Law generally required the presentation of a photo identification card as a prerequisite to the casting of a ballot by most registered voters. It was purportedly written to establish a policy of liberal access to the necessary identification cards. However, opponents argued that implementation of the Law did not provide liberal access and therefore, would prevent certain individuals from being able to participate in the November 6, 2012 election.
Today, October 2, 2012, after the appellate court ordered further review of the law, the lower court ruled that as implemented, the Law does not provide those Pennsylvania citizens who do not already possess photo IDs liberal, or adequate, access to obtain them prior to the November 6, 2012 election. After hearing further arguments and reviewing numerous documents submitted from both sides, the court found that the procedures the State of Pennsylvania put in place to allow citizens to obtain photo IDs prior to the November election were too restrictive. Based on that finding, the court ruled that Pennsylvania would not be permitted to enforce the Law prior to that election. Because the court has not ruled on the constitutionality of the Law, nor whether it can be enforced in future elections, the court further directed that the provision in the Law requiring election officials at the polls to request an ID would remain intact and that the State could continue to educate voters regarding the ID requirement. Regardless, however, the portion of the Law requiring any voter to produce photo ID in order to be allowed to cast a vote in the November 6, 2012 election has been struck down and voting will be open to all registered voters in the State of Pennsylvania this year.
For additional information on this ruling, see this article on Philly.com