clear
Wednesday August 5th, 2015 12:24AM

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 2015 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 ( 7 months 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 ( 7 months 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 ( 7 months 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 ( 7 months 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 ( 7 months 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 ( 7 months 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 ( 7 months 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 ( 7 months ago )
Politics
The Latest: California wildfire 20 percent contained
LOWER LAKE, Calif. (AP) — The latest on wildfires burning in California (all times local):6:30 p.m.Fire crews have made some progress against a stubborn fire that has consumed more than 101 square mil...
11:45PM ( 39 minutes ago )
Week-old wildfire wreaks havoc on California vacation spot
MIDDLETOWN, Calif. (AP) — A predictable but painful summertime ritual played out in half a dozen resort communities near California's largest freshwater lake on Tuesday as an erratic, week-old wildfir...
11:39PM ( 45 minutes ago )
Tax filing problems could jeopardize health law aid for 1.8M
WASHINGTON (AP) — About 1.8 million households that got financial help for health insurance under President Barack Obama's law now have issues with their tax returns that could jeopardize their subsid...
5:22PM ( 7 hours ago )
Sheriff: 2 men fire at soldiers in Mississippi; none hurt
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — Authorities are searching for two men who fired gunshots from a vehicle at soldiers at a military facility in Mississippi, although no one was reported wounded, a sheriff sai...
4:53PM ( 7 hours ago )
More fights ahead on Planned Parenthood after Senate vote
WASHINGTON (AP) — After the Senate's derailing of Republican legislation halting federal dollars for Planned Parenthood, one thing seems clear: Many on both sides think they can ring up gains from the...
4:15PM ( 8 hours ago )