clear
Thursday February 11th, 2016 2:18PM

Judge spikes photo ID requirement for Pa. voters

By The Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- A nearly 2-year-old requirement that almost all of Pennsylvania's 8.2 million voters must show photo identification before casting a ballot was struck down Friday by a state judge, setting the stage for a courtroom showdown before the state's highest court.

Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard L. McGinley, a Democrat, said the law would unreasonably burden the fundamental right to vote, and the state had been unable to convincingly explain why it was necessary.

"Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election; the Voter ID Law does not further this goal," McGinley wrote in his 103-page ruling.

The law, one of the strictest in the nation, was signed by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in March 2012 over the protests of every single Democratic lawmaker in Pennsylvania's Republican-controlled Legislature.

Enforcement of the law has been blocked by court orders pending resolution of the constitutional challenge. Both sides had vowed to appeal a negative decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

A spokesman for Corbett did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Lawyer Witold J. Walczak of the American Civil Liberties Union, which helped lead the legal challenge, said "the act was plainly revealed to be nothing more than a voter suppression tool."

Pennsylvania's Democratic leaders charged that the law was a cynical attempt by Republicans to hold down balloting by seniors, minorities and other Democratic-leaning groups in the last presidential election. Republicans called it an election-security measure, but administration officials acknowledged that they knew of no examples of voter impersonation.

The legislation was approved during the presidential election campaign at a time other GOP-led states also were tightening their voting requirements - setting off a partisan clash that continued through Election Day.

At a 12-day trial, the plaintiffs including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Pennsylvania League of Women Voters and Philadelphia's Homeless Advocacy Project emphasized problems in processing and distributing a new voting-only ID card available for free to voters who lack other acceptable IDs. They said dozens of registered voters who applied for those cards before the 2012 election did not receive them before ballots were cast.

Lawyers for the state defended the law, arguing that a multimillion-dollar publicity campaign in 2012 and the refinement of the special voting-only card by the Pennsylvania Department of State educated voters about the requirements of the law and would ensure that any registered voter who lacks an appropriate ID can now get one.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 1 year ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 1 year ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 1 year ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Committee leaves transportation funding to lawmakers
Georgia will have to cover a $1 billion to $1.5 billion transportation funding gap to stay economically competitive, a committee of lawmakers is warning in a report issued Tuesday.
5:36AM ( 1 year ago )
US off war footing at year's end, but wars go on
Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Barack Obama may have suggested.
6:13PM ( 1 year ago )
GOP leader regrets talk to white supremacists; party leaders rally around him
House Republican leaders rallied around one of their own, Whip Steve Scalise, on Tuesday after he said he regrets speaking 12 years ago to a white supremacist organization and condemns the views of such groups.
6:08PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain are emerging
WASHINGTON (AP) — New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain emerged Wednesday as U.S. health officials say mosquito eradication here and abroad is key to protect preg...
6:22PM ( 19 hours ago )
President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to help fight the Zika virus
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is asking Congress for more than $1.8 billion in emergency funding to fight the Zika virus and the mosquitoes that spread it here and abroad, but says "there s...
10:40PM ( 2 days ago )
Search for Missouri couple wanted for crimes across the South, including Ga., ends with one suspect dead and the other wounded
A weeklong search for a Missouri couple wanted in a series of robberies and abductions across the South ended with one suspect dead and the other wounded Friday, after authorities say they chased the pair across the highway and through a rural neighborhood and exchanged gunfire with them in Florida's Panhandle.
By The Associated Press
9:57PM ( 5 days ago )
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while, buoying consumers, frustrating oil producers
Cheap oil will be sticking around for a while.That reality is wreaking havoc and causing uncertainty for some governments and businesses, while creating financial windfalls for others. Less expensive...
6:18PM ( 1 week ago )
Cruz (R) expected to claim conservative Iowa caucus victory, with Clinton (D) and Sanders (D) deadlocked among liberal vote
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz swept to victory in Iowa's Republican caucuses Monday, overcoming billionaire Donald Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders were deadlocked in a tight race.
By The Associated Press
10:55PM ( 1 week ago )