In a potentially significant victory for Democrats, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated a lower court's decision to uphold the states's restrictive new voter ID law on Tuesday, and asked the judge to consider enjoining it instead.
The law, passed by a Republican legislature and governor, requires voters to have specific, state-issued photo ID -- a move that opponents say could disenfranchise tens of thousands of people, most of them minorities, students and the elderly.
"We are not satisfied with a mere predictive judgment based primarily on the assurances of government officials," the court wrote of arguments that voters would not be disenfranchised by the law.
The court ruled 4-2, with two dissenting justices saying it should have blocked the law outright. One justice accused the court of "punting" and said she would have "no part in it."
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A judge on Tuesday blocked Pennsylvania's divisive voter identification requirement from going into effect on Election Day, delivering a hard-fought victory to Democrats who said it was a ploy to defeat President Barack Obama and other opponents who said it would prevent the elderly and minorities from voting.
Simpson ordered the state not to enforce the photo ID requirement in this year's presidential election but will allow it to go into full effect next year.
One lawyer for the plaintiffs said it appeared to be a "win." Election workers will still be allowed to ask voters for a valid photo ID, but people without it can vote on a regular voting machine in the polling place and would not have to cast a provisional ballot or prove their identity to election officials after the election.
Court Puts South Carolina Voter ID Law On Hold Until After Election | A three-judge panel rejected South Carolina’s request that it reinstate a state voter identification law for the 2012 elections. The law had been denied pre-clearance by the U.S. Department of Justice for violating the Voting Rights Act. Much like the recent Pennsylvania decision, the panel ruled that the law may go into effect after this year, but implementing it this close to the November elections would have potentially discriminatory effects on minority voters.
In addition to blocking the law for 2012, the opinion also notably ruled in future elections, voters will not be required to show a photo ID. “Voters with the non-photo voter registration card that sufficed to vote under preexisting law may still vote without a photo ID,” the panel wrote, “Those voters simply must sign an affidavit at the polling place and list the reason that they have not obtained a photo ID. The unanimous opinion was written by Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a prominent conservative judge viewed as a likely potential Supreme Court pick in a Republican administration.