With just six weeks until the presidential election, a judge raised the possibility Tuesday that he would move to block Pennsylvania’s controversial voter ID law. “I’m giving you a heads-up,” Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr. told lawyers after a day’s testimony on whether the law is being implemented in ways that ensure no voters will be disenfranchised. “I think it’s a possibility there could be an injunction here.” Simpson then asked lawyers on both sides to be prepared to return to court Thursday to present arguments on what such an injunction should look like. There is no hearing Wednesday because of Yom Kippur. Simpson gave few if any further clues to what he may decide. But his comments provided a dramatic end to a day of testimony in a protracted and widely watched fight over the law, which requires voters to present photo identification at the polls.
Critics of the law have argued that it is being rushed into effect – it was enacted in March – and will disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters, particularly minorities, the elderly, and the poor. Democrats have branded it a thinly veiled attempt by Republicans to suppress the vote for President Obama on Nov. 6 and boost Mitt Romney’s chances of winning Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes.
State officials have countered in public statements – and again in testimony Tuesday – that they have mounted an aggressive campaign of TV ads, mass mailings, and other measures to educate voters about the law and provide free photo IDs to all who need them. Simpson previously rejected civil-rights groups’ contentions that the law put too many burdens on voters. But on appeal, the state Supreme Court sent the case back to him this month.
Full Article: Judge hints he may block Pennsylvania voter ID.