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Judge Halts Pennsylvania's Controversial Voter ID Law

Common Dreams staff

photo: KCIvey via Flickr

A judge has halted Pennsylvania's controversial voter ID law on Tuesday, the Associated Press reports, so it will not be in effect for this year's election.

The PIttsburgh Post-Gazette adds that the ruling from Commonwealth Judge Robert Simpson is a "partial injunction":

Voters will still be asked to present a valid ID, and if they don't have one, will have to cast a provisional ballot.

Wendy Weiser, democracy program director of the Brennan Center for Justice, lauded the decision.

"Today’s decision is a clear victory for Pennsylvania voters and the cause of voting rights across the country. As the Commonwealth Court ruled, implementing a sweeping new voter ID law so close to an election would prevent eligible citizens from voting and having their say in our democracy. We are pleased the Court refused to allow politicians to manipulate the system for their own benefit by rushing through new voting requirements that would keep out legitimate voters. Now, we must ensure voters are informed of their rights and poll workers are trained properly so no voter is turned away because they don’t have ID," stated Weiser.

A 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."

But the battle is not over.

Simpson's decision can be appealed back to the state Supreme Court, which is scheduled to meet next on Oct. 15, CBS reports.

Election officials had reported that 750,000 registered voters in Pennsylvania may be disenfranchised under the state's voter ID law.

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