It was widely assumed by many awaiting the decision on voter ID legislation in Pennsylvania that the state’s Supreme Court would vote along party lines, thereby keeping Judge Robert Simpson’s ruling in place, nullifying the challenge to the law.
However, we can assume that one Republican came over in the 4-2 vote on Tuesday, ordering the lower court to hold a hearing on whether voters have adequate access to photo IDs under the new state law. The court’s seventh member has been unavailable to attend sessions.
The ruling said if the lower court holds that the law is being implemented fairly, thereby allowing all voters access to required photo ID, the law can stand. If not, the law will be overturned.
David Gersh, representing those opposed to the law, told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the state has not allowed voters enough time to get the required photo ID and asked for an injunction. Moreover, he said, those backing the law have not produced any case of voter fraud. According to one report, only four cases of voter fraud have ever been reported out of 20 million votes.
More than 10 percent of Pennsylvania’s eligible voters do not have the proper ID, totaling 750,000 persons. In a battleground state such as Pennsylvania, where Obama won in 2008, the suppression of a significant number of potentially Democratic voters could prove critical to the outcome of the November elections.
“We’re glad to see the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is taking the actual impact of voters seriously,” Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, told Newsone.com. “Requiring the state to prove the law will not disenfranchise voters is the right step to take. We’re confident that the evidence demonstrates that his law does disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania voters and should be enjoined.”
It will now be interesting to see if other states faced with similar circumstances will move in the right direction and negate the voter suppression campaign.