Poll workers in the upcoming November election will not be permitted to tell voters that a photo ID will be required in future elections. As in the last two elections, voters may still be asked to show photo identification, but will not be required to produce it in order to vote. The slight change to the preliminary injunction that has put the Voter ID law on hold since it was passed in March 2012 was made by Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley Aug. 16 following a trial on the merits of the controversial law. Montgomery County Director of Communications Frank Custer said Aug. 23 that poll workers would be informed of the change prior to the November election. “We hold, before every election, several poll worker training [sessions] throughout the county,” Custer said, adding that the new ruling would be covered in the upcoming sessions.
Under the initial preliminary injunction, poll workers were permitted to ask for photo identification, but voters were not required to show it. “Complicating the matter,” McGinley wrote in his opinion, “poll workers were required to ‘inform the elector that he or she will be required to comply with that’ [proof of photo ID] ‘when voting at future elections … unless an exemption applies.’”
By doing so during the May 2013 primary, “the information poll workers were responsible for relaying was not accurate …” he wrote.
“During the repeated ‘soft rollouts,’ elections officials informed electors who were registered and qualified to vote that compliant photo ID would be required at the next election. Thus active voters have been told repeatedly that they could not vote without compliant photo ID,” the opinion states.