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Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Hits Roadblock as Court Orders Review of Decision

State Supreme Court sends decision back to lower court

- Common Dreams staff

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday has ordered the lower court to revisit its decision in the controversial voter ID law, which voting rights advocates have said would have disenfranchised as many as 750,000.

photo: KCIvey via Flickr The ruling stated:

The court is to consider whether the procedures being used for deployment of the cards comport with the requirement of liberal access which the General Assembly attached to the issuance of PennDOT identification cards. If they do not, or if the Commonwealth Court is not still convinced in its predictive judgment that there will be no voter disenfranchisement arising out of the Commonwealth’s implementation of a voter identification requirement for purposes of the upcoming election, that court is obliged to enter a preliminary injunction.

Accordingly, the order of the Commonwealth Court is VACATED, and the matter is returned to the Commonwealth Court for further proceedings consistent with this Order. The Commonwealth Court is to file its supplemental opinion on or before October 2, 2012.

The lawsuit brought by groups including the ACLU of Pennsylvania had charged that the voter ID law "violates the Pennsylvania Constitution by depriving citizens of their most fundamental constitutional right - the right to vote."

Judith Browne Dianis, Co-Director of the Advancement Project, one of the groups that filed the lawsuit, previously called the voter ID law "part of the largest legislative effort to turn back the clock on voting rights in our nation in over a century."

"This law deprives many eligible voters in the commonwealth - disproportionately the poor, minorities, senior citizens, young voters and people with disabilities - of their fundamental right to vote. If this law is allowed to stand it will disenfranchise thousands of voters in Pennsylvania who cannot overcome the law's many hurdles and will undermine the basic fabric of our democracy," stated Browne Dianis.

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