Voter ID: Court Upholds Pennsylvania Law

A Pennsylvania trial court upheld the state’s new voter ID law today but ordered that voters without ID would still be able to vote in the upcoming election, because it does not appear that the new requirement can be fully implemented before the election.

The court questioned “whether sufficient time now remains” to implement the changes proposed by the state to make it easier for voters who don’t already have a photo ID to obtain one.

The court issued only a very narrow injunction—contrary to the demands of the NAACP and the League of Women Voters. Pennsylvania election officials can still ask voters to present photo IDs at the polls. However, as the court pointed out, when the state legislature passed the new voter ID law, it specifically provided that the requirement “was to operate during its initial implementation” in what the court described as a “soft run.”

Therefore, following the “expressed intent” of the legislature, the court held that voters without IDs would still be able to vote in the November election, and they would not be limited to casting a provisional ballot rather than a regular ballot.

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