Judge Delays Pennsylvania’s Voter ID Law

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson has ordered that Pennsylvania’s 6-month-old voter ID law be delayed until after the November election cycle.

While an appeal is likely a new decision would have to be ruled upon within the next five weeks in order to positively effect the Republican party.

Critics of the voter ID law which requires photo identification to vote in the state of Pennsylvania include the AARP and NAACP. Those groups and others say the law gives Republicans an unfair advantage because certain Democrat segments of the voting population do not have the means to obtain a photo ID. The groups equate the voter ID law to Jim Crow tactics.

The law came under increased scrutiny when a top Republican lawmaker admitted that the voter ID law would give GOP nominee Mitt Romney the victory in Pennsylvania.

Judge Robert Simpson heard two days worth of testimony and at the time said he would consider invalidating a narrow portion of the law. During testimony state officials admitted that they have never caught a single person engaging in an act of in-person voter fraud.

Pennsylvania is an important election state because of its 20 electoral votes, sixth most in the United Sates. A majority of Republicans are trailing in the state.

While Democrats have strongly opposed the law they have also been able to use it as a tool to gather grassroots support while rallying voters around what they believe to be unfair practices. Defeating the bill however could have the opposite effect, allowing Republicans to make their case to voters while driving them to vote.

The Pennsylvania voter ID law is among the toughest in the United States and has largely been met with criticism because the state has not put into place easy tools for the disadvantaged to receive a free photo ID for voting purposes.

Other groups opposing the law include the American Civil Liberties Union, League of Women Voters, Latino Justice, and SeniorLAW Center.

Without easy and free access to voter IDs it is likely this debate will rage on not only in Pennsylvania but all throughout the country.