Judge Halts Unfair Pennsylvania Voter ID Law – For Now

A Pennsylvania judge has blocked an unjust, Jim Crow-like voter ID law from going into effect on election day. However, the judge ruled the law – put in place by GOP lawmakers to discourage minorities and the elderly from voting – will go into effect next year.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson also ruled that elections officials could still ask voters for a photo ID, but could not turn away anyone who had not been able to obtain one – a double-sided decision opponents say still threatens to do more harm than good.

“While we’re happy that voters in Pennsylvania will not be turned away if they do not have an ID, we are concerned that the ruling will allow election workers to ask for ID at the polls and this could cause confusion,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Penda D. Hair. “This injunction serves as a mere Band-Aid for the law’s inherent problems, not an effective remedy.”

Similar to Pennsylvania, GOP legislators in 34 states – many key battleground states – have been proposing voter suppression laws in a blatant attempt to limit voter turnout and influence the 2012 presidential election. Some attempts have been successful. Others, not so much.
Both Indiana and Georgia’s unfair voter ID laws have been upheld. The Justice Department cleared New Hampshire’s voter ID law earlier this year. Republicans in Ohio have cut the number of early voting days and ended early voting on the weekend before Election Day. And Florida has spent much of 2012 in court, defending its search for suspected non-U.S. citizen voters, its decisions to cut early voting days and its use of provisional ballots.

However, a federal court recently rejected part of Florida’s law that would have restricted the number of early voting days, saying the new law cannot take effect in five counties which have a history of voter discrimination. A federal court has struck down Texas’ unfair voter ID law. Wisconsin’s law remains blocked for now. And a federal court is reviewing South Carolina’s legislation.

Protect your right to vote. Voter registration deadlines in many states are fast approaching. Register today by clicking here. And know the rules in your state. Visit your local Board of Elections website.

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