A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court Monday striking down an Arizona voter identification law will likely have little consequence in another legal case — that of the Pennsylvania voter identification law, legal experts said. By a 7-2 ruling, the nation’s high court on Monday ruled that in the case of Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council, Arizona had violated constitutional law and could not demand proof of citizenship as a voter registration requisite. Under the National Voter Registration Act, voters are required to swear they are citizens on the application form. The Arizona law would have demanded documentary proof at time of registration. By contrast, the Pennsylvania legislation would require all voters to show a valid photo ID at the polls. The law is scheduled for a July trial in Commonwealth Court.
“Even though in this Arizona case it decides in favor of the federal government against the autonomy of states, there is a decent amount of discussion in the opinion about the independence of states in making decisions about elections and even deciding who should be permitted to vote,” said election law expert Michael R. Dimino, associate professor of law at Widener University School of Law.
Monday’s court ruling says little about the constitutionality of other kinds of voter identification laws or their requirements.
Still, before it recesses at the end of the month, the Supreme Court is expected to rule in Shelby County v. Holder, which legal experts agree could have a significant impact on whether laws requiring voters to show identification at polls are constitutional.