Critics and the opposition of Pennsylvania's strict voter ID law received good news on Oct. 2. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Judge Robert Simpson decided to suspend the controversial new law until 2013 after being directed by the state Supreme Court to reconsider his previous ruling to uphold the law for the upcoming November election. According to USA Today, under the ruling poll workers will be permitted to ask for photo identification, but voters will not be required to show ID prior to casting a vote, which means some confusion at the polls is to be expected.
Why did Judge Simpson overturn his previous ruling?
According to NBC News, Judge Simpson decided to keep the law from taking effect prior to the November election because of insufficient time for the Keystone State to provide free voter identification cards to anyone who otherwise lacked an approved form of identification.
Is Pennsylvania the only state with a voter ID law?
Thirty states have some form of voter identification law on the books with eleven that require photo ID before casting a ballot, according to USA Today. However, new laws in Wisconsin and Texas have been blocked by court order and a law in South Carolina has been held up by the Justice Department.
Do voters in Pennsylvania favor a voter ID law?
According to NBC News, three out of five voters in Pennsylvania are in favor of having a photo identification requirement, which could set the stage for the law to become permanent once enough time has been granted for potential voters to obtain correct ID in the eyes of the law.
Could this decision be appealed?
While it is well within the right of Pennsylvania to appeal the decision, Gov. Tom Corbett has suggested that his administration would likely not appeal the ruling with the election a little more than a month away.
What does this mean for the election?
According to Fox News, the law would have primarily affected minorities, the poor, and the elderly, who are more likely to vote with the Democrats; therefore, the suspension of the law helps that side of the ticket. One lawmaker in Pennsylvania even went so far as to suggest that the voter ID law would allow Mitt Romney to win the Keystone in the November election over the summer, according to the Fox report, which only amplified the partisan uproar over the bill.
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.
- Politics & Government