Judge crafting a way to keep voter ID law and allow people to vote

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HARRISBURG -- The state appellate judge overseeing a new hearing on the voter ID law suggested as arguments closed this afternoon that he is considering halting a narrow section of that controversial law.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson interrogated attorneys from both sides as to how he could alter the photo identification requirement to prevent voter disenfranchisement.

He focused largely on the section stating that anyone without a photo ID would be able to vote by provisional ballot, and that the ballot would be counted if they can show photo ID within six days of the election.

"Provisional ballots seem to be the sticking point," Judge Simpson said. "It's not the smoothest part of [the law]."

The latest hearing, which began on Tuesday, is the result of a Supreme Court decision last week to send the case back for further review as to whether state officials have made it easy enough for those lacking proper ID to obtain an appropriate card.

The case resumed this morning, with voters and activists relaying obstacles encountered in attempts to secure photo identification cards.

Witnesses recounted receiving unclear and inaccurate instructions from state Department of Transportation employees, waiting for hours to learn that they needed other documents and being charged for the free ID card.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups challenging the law want to prevent the ID requirement from being implemented in the Nov. 6 general election.

The new law, signed in March, requires all voters to show a state- or federal-issued photo ID card, or a photo ID with an expiration date from a state university, nursing home or municipal government.

Judge Simpson didn't indicate when he would rule but it must be by Tuesday. homepage - breaking - electionspa - state

Laura Olson: lolson@post-gazette.com or 717-787-4254. First Published September 27, 2012 2:00 PM


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