The fierce battle over Pennsylvania’s voter ID law goes to trial on Monday in a state courtroom in Harrisburg. The legal fight began with a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and other groups in May 2012. A state judge temporarily blocked the voter ID law from affecting Election Day 2012, but only after the state Supreme Court intervened. The Pennsylvania ACLU argues the voter ID law is unconstitutional because it infringes on the right to vote and could disenfranchise voters.
The legal fight in Pennsylvania stands apart from other efforts against voter ID laws because it is being fought in state court rather than federal. It also comes less than a month after the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a central part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act thrust elections law back into the national spotlight.
Federal courts have generally approved voter ID laws if they include accommodations for those without ID cards and other provisions to ease the burden on voters. More than 30 states have some form of identification requirement.