The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania today handed down its ruling on our case against the state’s voter ID law. Judge Robert Simpson has reversed himself and has issued a preliminary injunction against the law. In the decision Simpson wrote, “I cannot conclude the proposed changes cure the deficiency in liberal access [to ID’s] identified by the Supreme Court.”
The judge said that poll workers can ask voters for ID, but they cannot turn away voters who do not have one.
Here’s Advancement Project’s initial take on the ruling:
“We are very glad voters will not be turned away from the polls this November if they do have an ID,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis. “The evidence made it clear to the judge that this law would indeed disenfranchise voters and that the Commonwealth was not equipped to implement it fairly right now.”
“While we’re happy that voters in Pennsylvania will not be turned away if they do not have an ID, we are concerned that the ruling will allow election workers to ask for ID at the polls and this could cause confusion,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Penda D. Hair. “This injunction serves as a mere Band-Aid for law’s inherent problems, not an effective remedy.”
Simpson on disenfranchisement: “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.… 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.”