Opponents of Pennsylvania's new voter identification law suffered something of a setback when a Pennsylvania judge upheld the law, according to The Huffington Post. The groups trying to prevent the law from taking effect are now gearing up to file an appeal with the state Supreme Court, and the U.S. Justice Department is alsotaking a closer look at the law that requires voters to show valid photo identification before casting a ballot, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Clearly the fight over whether or not the law will take effect is going to go down to the wire.
Why did the judge uphold the law?
According to NPR News, Pennsylvania state court Judge Robert Simpson allowed the law to remain on the books because the plaintiffs failed to show that voter disenfranchisement would be immediate and that the availability of free photo IDs provides enough proof that the state is trying to accommodate potential voters.
Will citizens be barred from voting without proper ID?
No Pennsylvania voter will be turned away from the polls on Election Day. Voters who lack the proper and approved photo identification will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Upon completing the provisional ballot the voter must obtain the proper identification and present those credentials to voting authorities in a designated amount of time to have the vote counted.
What kind of photo ID is required by the law?
According to ABC News, acceptable forms of photo ID include: state issued driver's licenses, military IDs, college IDs, and any state, federal, or local ID. In addition, photo identification issued by state care facilities will also be valid, but any college ID without an expiration date will not be accepted. Residents who lack the proper identification can obtain a free photo ID from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation with a few supporting documents.
Do the opponents have a chance in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court?
The fate of any appeal in the Supreme Court is questionable, because the court is presently divided equally with three Democrats and three Republicans thanks to the suspension of Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who awaiting trial on corruption charges, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Opponents would need at least four members of the court to vote against the law, but since the measure was conceived, drafted, and pushed through by Republicans, the outcome of the appeal is questionable at best for opponents of the legislation.
Jason Gallagher is a longtime Pennsylvania resident. He has experiences in trends and developments in many regions from having lived in many parts of the Keystone State, and currently resides in the Pittsburgh area.