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Pennsylvania judge delays enforcement of voter ID law

October 02, 2012|By David G. Savage
  • People pass signs telling voters to show an acceptable photo ID to vote as they head into the the Penndot Drivers License Center in Butler, Pa.
People pass signs telling voters to show an acceptable photo ID to vote as… (Keith Srakocic / Associated…)

A state judge has blocked Pennsylvania’s new photo ID requirement from being enforced in the November election, ruling state officials failed to assure that all the eligible and registered voters would have the needed identification.

The decision did not strike down the photo ID law, but puts it on hold until the next election. However, state officials can appeal to the state Supreme Court.

The ruling is a victory for civil rights advocates who said the newly required photo ID could prevent tens of thousands of older and minority voters from casting a ballot this year. 

While the vast majority of Pennsylvanians can use their drivers license as a valid identification, several hundred thousand registered voters who do not drive did not have an acceptable ID card under the terms of the state’s strict law.

“We are very glad voters will not be turned away from the polls this November if they do not have an ID,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis. “The evidence made it clear to the judge that this law would indeed disenfranchise voters and that the Commonwealth was not equipped to implement it fairly right now.”

Pennsylvania, a state once considered up for grabs between President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has recently leaned heavily in Obama’s favor, and the Romney campaign has shown little inclination toward pouring resources into the state to win over voters.

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