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Voter ID Ruling: Court Grants Temporary Injunction

Judge Robert Simpson

For all intents and purposes, Pa.’s new requirement for voter ID is on hold for 2012. A Pa. judge issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday, ruling that no voter can be turned away for a lack of photo identification.

“I will enjoin enforcement of those provisions of Act 18 which amend the provisional ballot procedures of the Election Code and cause disenfranchisement based on failure to present photo ID for in-person voting,” wrote Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson.

Essentially, Simpson extended the “trial run” period of the law, initially intended for the 2012 primary election, all the way through the general.

Other elements of the law, including public education efforts about the rule as well as instruction that poll workers request voter ID, will continue.

Voters without ID will not need to cast a provisional ballot.

Simpson commended the state on its recent efforts to streamline the process for obtaining ID, but said that the changes occurred too close to the election to avoid the risk of disenfranchising voters.

However, he wrote, “I expected more photo IDs to have been issued by this time. For this reason, I accept Petitioners’ argument that in the remaining five weeks before the general election, the gap between the photo IDs issued and the estimated need will not be closed.”

It’s the latest in an ongoing saga.

In his initial ruling in August, Simpson upheld the law on the grounds that there was no definitive evidence that disenfranchisement would occur. However, on appeal, the Pa. Supreme Court kicked the ruling back down to Commonwealth Court with the instruction to look specifically at whether legitimate voters could be turned away.

It’s unclear whether the Pa. Supreme Court would hear an appeal before the election. In any case, the 3-3 split between the Court’s Democrats and Republicans means that this injunction is likely to stand through November 6. A tie decision on the high Court, by default, results in a ruling being upheld.

The law is very likely to be in place for future elections.

“These existing structural improvements, together with the proposed enhanced access to the DOS ID and additional time, will place  the Commonwealth in a better position going forward,” Simpson wrote of the state’s position in further legal proceedings on the matter.

24 Responses

  1. So what group is Corbett still popular with? He lacks the intestinal fortitude to appeal the ruling to the supreme court. The legislature questions his leadership. He has strong armed his political party and irritated the grass roots supporters. He has taken money for health care exchanges after going to the Supreme Court to stop Health Care Exchanges. And the democrats loathe him and want to tie him into the Sandusky scandal.

    Maybe Bob Casey will run against him in 2014 Casey would trounce him like he trounced Santorum. Why? Corbett has failed to lay it on the line when it has mattered.

  2. Why is it so hard to Grasp that when you vote you need a photo ID. Doesn’t have to be a Driver’s Licence it can be a Photo ID. But you have to prove who you are. One to be a US citizen, two to only vote once, Three to verify you are of voting age, etc. It is not just voting where you need a photo ID. These disenfranchised people you speak of need ID to get, Food Stamps, medicaid, Alcohol and Cigarettes. If they don’t have an ID how do they survive???

  3. Necro-Americans will not be disenfranchised.

    For those hailing the ruling and the reasoning behind it, now be consistent and apply the same theory to our public school system.

    Our public schools can not be reformed due to the teachers unions lobby in the Commonwealth.

    Obama will still lose Pennsylvania. The Voter ID ruling has fired people up and will increase the intensity level even more than it already is.

  4. Please check out:

    Bret is the Democratic Candidate for State House in the 156th District in PA. PoliticsPA recently listed it as a top 10 house race this election cycle. It was won by approximately 200 votes in 2010 and 28 votes in 2006, determining who had the majority in the house.

    Bret’s Website:


  5. Appeal to popularity is a logical fallacy. Segregation was pretty popular too, but that doesn’t make it right. The Constitution and courts exist to protect minority opinions because the popular obviously doesn’t need any help.

    Certainly talking points like “protecting the integrity of elections” sound good and the classic “idiot in a hurry” is going to agree with that, but when you explain that voter ID ONLY prevents voter impersonation, which the Commonwealth admitted in court doesn’t happen and that it’s costing millions of taxpayer dollars when we’re slashing education spending, I imagine those numbers start to drop significantly, especially when you explain that not everyone lives in the suburbs and has a driver’s license.

    This law is pretty nakedly partisan in an effort to disenfranchise voters who tend to vote Democratic. The only voter fraud that it would prevent doesn’t exist and the Governor admitted that. So what does that leave? Republicans trying to level the playing field because they’re outnumbered. As one Senator so eloquently put it, if you have to stop people voting to win elections, then your ideas suck.

  6. Why would anyone care what Beck has to say?
    This law is nothing more than an attempt to solve a non-existent problem.
    Voting is a right not a privilege and should be made as easy as possible.
    Put systems in place to ensure an accurate vote but this voter ID scheme is just plain wrong.

  7. I agree with Beck’s theory; i.e., we truly have reached the point whereby a dumbed-down society can no longer recognize right from wrong or good from evil. Those parroting the Progressive’s propaganda are the same who are becoming clones of the characters they ridicule who are featured in one of the multitude of reality shows they watch on a daily basis.

  8. Justice McCaffery is clearly wrong. His Supreme Court ID would be sufficient as would his Supreme Court paycheck. Here is what law provides. It is extensive.
    Judge Simpson and the Supreme Court did NOT find the law unconstitutional or discriminatory; they found Corbett’s Secretary of State Carole Aichele to have incompetently executed the law.

    (1) a valid driver’s license or identification card
    issued by the Department of Transportation;
    (2) a valid identification card issued by any other
    agency of the Commonwealth;
    (3) a valid identification card issued by the United
    States Government;
    (4) a valid United States passport;
    (5) a valid student identification card;
    (6) a valid employe identification card; or
    (7) a valid armed forces of the United States
    identification card] proof of identification.
    The election officer shall examine the proof
    of identification presented by the elector and sign an
    affidavit stating that this has been done.
    [(a.1) Where the elector does not have a photo
    identification as provided for in subsection (a), the
    elector shall present for examination one of the following
    forms of identification that shows the name and address of
    the elector:
    (1) nonphoto identification issued by the Commonwealth,
    or any agency thereof;
    (2) nonphoto identification issued by the United States
    Government, or agency thereof;
    (3) a firearm permit;
    (4) a current utility bill;
    (5) a current bank statement;
    (6) a paycheck;
    (7) a government check.

  9. I believe the point that Justice McCaffrey was making was that a photo ID that was good enough for security at the PA Supreme Court was insufficient for voting purposes.

    Why is that? Obviously, the law was onerous and inflexible. And the ID was exceedingly difficult for many to obtain.

    When writing the law and during the amendment process, the state house and senate had many opportunities to craft a law that sufficiently addressed their concerns and was also constitutional in its implementation.

    They were not interested in that. They wanted to put a law on the books that would exclude and disenfranchise legitimate voters who they didn’t see eye to eye with. They counted on their majority on the Commonwealth and State Supreme Court to serve their interest. Thankfully, with Justice Melvin now facing prison, that majority isn’t there for them anymore.

  10. David, what exactly was that remark “telling” about? McCaffery is the dimmest bulb on the Supreme Court and the most likely to be guided by political ideology. I’m not sure why it would matter to the constitutionality of a law that his Supreme Court employee ID does not work for voting. It doesn’t work for driving or buying a gun either.

  11. Jack-
    I think one of the telling moments was when Judge McCaffery pointed out that his own Supreme Court Justice photo-ID would not be considered sufficient for voting.

  12. “Thats why its called the Supreme Court, not the court of Public Opinion.”

    Rex, when it comes to the PA Supreme Court, what’s the difference?

  13. Mary-
    Since 90% already have drivers licenses, and don’t have to do ANYTHING different, it’s not surprising that they are ignorant about the problems faced by the 10% without a license and who would have trouble getting one.

    The 80% “approval” is based on a badly worded question about whether people should have ID, rather than the more telling question: “Do you approve of requiring a form of ID that 10% of the population doesn’t have?”

  14. I have no doubt that 80% of Pennsylvania support the concept of voter ID but no where near 80% support the shameful tactic attempted by the Republicans for the 2012 election. This tactic was nothing but a ruse to disenfranchise Obama supporters.

    Sad, sad, sad…

    Happily, justice and common sense have prevailed.

  15. i think this is the decision for both advocates of having a voter id and those who are concerned about disenfranchisment. for advocates of the id it keeps the law and allows it to be implemented with for thought and ease not in the haphazard way that was leading to a host of problems for people that are legitimately concerned about the disenfranchisement problems. it allows people to find out weather your id is valid. without losing your right to vote a much better dry run than the primary with its low turnout

  16. LOL @ Mary. You, like most of the GOP, love pulling numbers out of your nether regions and presenting it as fact. The number that supported it was 59%. Source:

    Also, whether people support something has nothing to do with it’s constitutionality. Thats why its called the Supreme Court, not the court of Public Opinion.

    But, apparently, it’s just common sense to deny people without ID the right to vote. You know, for reasons.

  17. Some 80% of Pennsylvanians polled support voter ID (Morning Call again, I believe). Doesn’t sound very partisan to me, just common sense, something that PA is known for ( outside of the cities).
    More faulty logic with figures employed here. What if, there are not many issued because not many people who intend to vote are without proper ID?

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