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Pennsylvania Voter ID Down But Not Out

Pennsylvania’s voter protection law was struck down today by a commonwealth judge.  An appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is likely.

Enacted in 2012 but never enforced due to immediate legal challenges, Pennsylvania’s ballot protection law requires that prospective voters present photo identification issued by the commonwealth or a local government or a accredited state school.  Even recently expired driver’s licenses are considered acceptible.  Persons without proper identification are allowed to vote provisionally, but must later authenticate their identity.

Commonwealth Judge Bernard McGinley, an elected Democrat, nonetheless ruled that the law presented a “substantial threat” that “unreasonably burdens the right to vote” by lacking enough access to identification for those still seeking it.  McGinley ruled this despite the fact that Viviette Applewhite, the 93-year-old woman who served as the original plaintiff in the case, easily obtained her voter ID in August of 2012 after having initial concerns that she lacked enough backing documentation to do so.

Project 21 co-chairman Horace Cooper anticipates vindication of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law upon appeal.  He said:

Today’s ruling is a setback for voter integrity.  We look forward to the Commonwealth’s appeal as I’m confident that the voter ID requirements are sound and legal policy.

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