Pennsylvania voter ID law found unconstitutional
A Commonwealth Court judge issued an order Wednesday permanently blocking the controversial photo ID law that threatened to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters in Pennsylvania.
Judge McGinley stated that the voter ID law “does not pass constitutional muster because there is no legal, non-burdensome provision of a compliant photo ID to all qualified electors.”
Pennsylvania’s voter ID law, which was passed by the state legislature and signed by Governor Corbett in March of 2012, was one of the most restrictive in the nation and did not allow many commonly used identification cards for voting. Most voters would have been forced to travel to one of only 71 Pennsylvania Department of Transportation locations to obtain state-issued identification. The law especially burdened the elderly, those with limited mobility and disabilities, individuals with fewer resources and the homeless.
“All the evidence in the case pointed to hundreds of thousands of registered Pennsylvania voters who do not have IDs. The state is simply unable to get ID into the hands of all the people who needed it. As voter turnout continues to hit record lows, we need to make sure we do everything we can to increase participation, not deter it,” said Jennifer Clarke, executive director of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia.
The decision by the court comes after more than 18 months, three trials and a preliminary injunction that prevented the law from going into effect.
In 2012, the commonwealth stated that it had no evidence that any form of voter fraud ever took place in the state of Pennsylvania.
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