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Appeal for Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Short on Time

by Mackenzie Krott, published
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson upheld the state's contested Voter ID law this week.

Republican backers of Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law are claiming victory in a court battle over a new photo id requirement that was upheld earlier this week, while multiple voter rights groups and registered voters filed an appeal against the ruling on Thursday.

The appeal will be tricky to maneuver. Four votes by Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices will be required to overturn the ruling.

Currently, the justices are made up of three Republicans and three Democrats. One justice is currently suspended, leaving the state’s Supreme Court with just six members. If members stick to party lines, it will result in a tie and leave the law upheld.

A Pennsylvania judge ruled Wednesday that the law, which requires all residents to show a valid photo ID in order to vote, will go into full effect on November 6.

In his ruling, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson said the challengers of the law failed to prove that it violates the state’s constitution.

He said in his opinion, “the voter ID requirement is a reasonable, non-discriminatory, non-severe burden when viewed in the broader context of the widespread use of photo ID in daily life”.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s election officials have until next week to supply the U.S. Department of Justice with information regarding the law. The department has attempted to block other states’ voted ID laws, and hopes to do the same with Pennsylvania’s.

Due to the case’s timing, it looks like Pennsylvania voters will more than likely be showing their photo ID at the polls this November. The future of the law beyond November, however, is uncertain. Judge Simpson’s ruling simply rejected an injunction to halt the law from taking immediate effect.

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