Judge Refuses to Block Pennsylvania Voter ID Law

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson refused to grant an injunction that would have stopped a new Pennsylvania voter ID law from going into effect today. Simpson’s decision will most likely be appealed to the state Supreme Court. The law will require anyone voting in Pennsylvania to show specific government issued photo IDs. Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State estimates that 758,000 registered voters lack the proper ID.

Elderly women, members of minority populations, college students, Pennsylvanians with disabilities, and transgender individuals have all testified in the case against the new law, claiming it would disenfranchise them. In his ruling, Judge Simpson wrote that those seeking the injunction blocking enforcement of the law did not show that “disenfranchisement was immediate or inevitable,” reported NBC.

Four of the six state Supreme Court justices would need to vote against the voter ID law for it to be overturned. Currently the court is split evenly with three Republicans and three Democrats. The seventh judge, Republican Justice Joan Orie Melvin, has been suspended while she faces criminal corruption charges, reports the Associated Press.

Earlier this year, Republican Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turazi claimed that the new law would “allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania” in the November election. Opponents of the law have cited that the state does not have any evidence to suggest that voter fraud has occurred or will occur in Pennsylvania elections to justify a voter ID law. The US Department of Justice is also looking into the law due to evidence suggesting the law discriminates against minority groups.

Media Resources: Associated Press 8/15/2012; NBC News 8/15/2012; Feminist Daily Newswire 7/31/2012

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