A trial set to begin Monday on the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s voter identification law represents a major step toward a judicial ruling on whether the photo requirement should be enforced at polling places statewide or thrown out as unconstitutional. Nine days are set aside for the trial in Harrisburg in Commonwealth Court. Civil libertarians challenging the law and state officials defending it say they expect the state Supreme Court will ultimately decide the case. At issue is a voter ID law that would be one of the strictest in the nation if it is upheld but has never been enforced.
After legal jousting that reached the state Supreme Court, Simpson blocked enforcement in last year’s presidential election and again in this year’s municipal and judicial primary because of lingering concern that it could disenfranchise voters who lacked a valid photo ID.
The 2012 law was approved without any Democratic votes by the Legislature’s Republican majority and signed by GOP Gov. Tom Corbett amid a bitterly contested White House race in which President Barack Obama ultimately carried Pennsylvania by 5.2 percentage points on his way to reelection.