The Pennsylvania judge who last month upheld a law requiring voters to show photo identification is scheduled today to hear arguments over whether people will be able to comply before the general election in November. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court Sept. 18 ordered Commonwealth Judge Richard E. Simpson to consider whether all eligible voters will be able to obtain acceptable ID if the law is upheld. Simpson ruled Aug. 15 that plaintiffs including the American Civil Liberties Union hadn’t proved the law would disenfranchise voters. The state high court asked Simpson to submit a supplemental opinion on the availability of alternate IDs by Oct. 2.
“The Commonwealth’s actions have been insufficient to forestall the possibility of disenfranchisement at the November elections,” Dorian Hurley of Arnold & Porter LLP said in court papers filed yesterday on behalf of the ACLU. “The evidence will show that disenfranchisement is not only possible; it is probable.”
The case is among multiple court battles over voting rules in states including Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin, where Republican and Democratic presidential campaigns see the possibility of victory. A state analysis found the photo requirement might exclude as much as 9 percent of Pennsylvania’s electorate from voting in the presidential election. Attorneys for South Carolina yesterday argued for their state’s voter-ID law before a panel of federal judges in Washington.