Tuesday, October 2, 2012
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.