Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Pennsylvania Trial Judge on remand Issues Partial Injunction of Voter ID Law

On remand from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's opinion last month, Commonwealth Judge Robert Simpson issued his Memorandum Order by today's deadline issuing a partial injunction of Pennsylvania's controversial voter photo identification law administered by PennDOT. 

In short, the Judge allows election officials to request an in-person voter show photo identification, but "enjoin[s] enforcement of those provisions of Act 18 which amend the provisional ballot procedures of the Election Code and cause disenfranchisement based on failure to present photo ID for in-person voting." [emphasis added].  The Judge rejected the State's argument that such a voter be allowed only to cast a "provisional ballot."

Judge Simpson also noted that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's

reference to “no voter disenfranchisement ... for purposes of the upcoming election,” Applewhite, ___ Pa. at ___, ___ A.3d at ___, slip op. at 7, has sparked debate between the parties. I understand the phrase to be focused on the preliminary injunction for purposes of the upcoming election. I do not understand the phrase to define the test for a facial validity challenge in the context of a permanent injunction. If that understanding is not correct, the Court’s guidance will be necessary.

With a little over a month until the election, this case may be heading back to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for such guidance.



Elections and Voting, Fundamental Rights, Opinion Analysis | Permalink

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