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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Court Strikes Down Pennsylvania Voter ID Law

The law requiring Pennsylvania’s voters to show photo identification at the polls was found unconstitutional by Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard L. McGinley.

He said the controversial 2012 voter identification law places an unreasonable burden on the fundamental right to vote.
State Rep. Mike Carroll, D-Avoca, welcomed the decision, saying it will allow older citizens to continue exercising their constitutional right to vote.
“While many believe a state-issued ID is an everyday tool in life easily held or obtained by all, the reality is there are people, especially older citizens, who do not have an ID but wish to vote,” Carroll said. “This decision ensures their right will be protected.”
State Republicans had approved the law over the protests of Democrats.
According to an Associated Press story, during a 12-day trial, plaintiffs said hundreds of thousands of voters lacked acceptable IDs and the inconvenience of getting one might discourage some from voting. State officials insisted there were ample opportunities for voters to get a valid ID.
State Sen. Lisa Baker, R-Lehman Township, said she felt McGinley has reached a conclusion that seems at odds with what the U.S. Supreme Court has previously ruled on the subject.
“Nevertheless, at a time when state finances remain under heavy pressure, and with another tough state budget coming up, it becomes more difficult to justify the additional legal costs needed to further litigate and resolve the conflict,” Baker said. “The money could be better spent on improving registration procedures and increasing voter turnout.”
State Republican Party Chairman Rob Gleason said the overwhelming majority of Pennsylvanians support a way to protect their right to vote and combat voter fraud.


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