The Corbett Administration signaled its intent Monday to keep fighting for a strong voter identification law in Pennsylvania by asking Commonwealth Court to reconsider a judge’s decision striking the law down. The 2012 law – considered one of the more stringent of its type in the nation and requiring nearly all voters to show photo identification when they went to the polling place – was struck down by Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard L. McGinley earlier this month. McGinley said the mandatory photo requirement placed an unreasonable burden on the fundamental right to vote. He also asserted the state had not been able to prove that it was necessary. Because McGinley’s decision followed a trial last summer on complaints brought by voters, Corbett’s first move was to file post-trial motions raising appellate issues before the full court. Under Pennsylvania’s rules, a trial court must have the chance to review its decision before an appeal could be taken to a higher court.
Here’s what the governor’s General Counsel, James Schultz, had to say about Monday’s filing:
“The Governor has always been a proponent of encouraging eligible citizens to register and to exercise their constitutional right to vote. The requirement of a photo ID in no way infringes upon this right, especially in today’s environment where an ID is essential to do just about anything.
“The administration has gone to great lengths to ensure that citizens are afforded the opportunity to get an ID in the unlikely event they do not have one. We disagree with the court’s decision that a statute requiring someone present a photo identification in order to cast a vote is unconstitutional,” Schultz continued.
“For this reason, we are filing a post-trial motion today relative to Judge McGinley’s recent decision.”
Schultz added that even if the law is eventually upheld, the administration would not seek to enforce it in any 2014 elections “so as to avoid even the chance of confusion for voters.“