On the same day a judge cleared the way for the state’s new voter identification law to take effect, the Corbett administration abandoned plans to allow voters to apply online for absentee ballots for the November election and to register online to vote. A spokesman for the Department of State said county elections officials told the agency that implementing the new online initiatives as well as voter ID requirements was too much to handle less than three months before the election. But Stephanie Singer, the top elections official in Philadelphia, said she was unaware that there was an issue with setting up a system to allow voters to register and apply for absentee ballots online, and said shifting more activity online would actually make for less paperwork.
State election law allows absentee voting by any individuals who cannot physically get to polls, are sick or disabled or out of town, but they have to submit proof. In his decision, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr. noted that the law already allows for absentee ballots for those facing difficulty in getting to the polls. In referring to two of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, he noted that “absentee balloting is probably available to them.”
Also Thursday, as expected, lawyers representing plaintiffs in the voter ID case filed an appeal with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court seeking an expedited hearing. They are seeking an injunction to halt the implementation of photo ID requirements for voters this November.