Pa. voter ID law won’t be enforced in May primary

  • Associated Press February 14, 2013

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania voters will not be required to show photo identification in the May 21 primary election under an agreement signed Thursday by both sides in a pending lawsuit.

Lawyers representing the Corbett administration and plaintiffs who are challenging the constitutionality of the voter ID law in state Commonwealth Court agreed that the law won’t be enforced as voters choose nominees for judicial and municipal offices.

Local election officials can ask to see identification, as they did in the presidential election last fall, but voters will be allowed to cast ballots as usual even if they lack those documents. If the law were enforced, voters without IDs would have to cast provisional ballots that would count only if they proved their identity afterward to officials.

“At this point, we just don’t see the (need) to litigate the issue,” said Senior Deputy Attorney General Patrick S. Cawley, who represents the administration.

A trial on the constitutional challenge is to begin July 15. Plaintiffs in the case include the Homeless Advocacy Project, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson halted enforcement of the law in the general election on grounds that the state failed to make it possible for voters to easily obtain IDs before the election.

The law’s passage last year by the Republican-controlled Legislature, without a single Democratic vote, sparked months of heated debate and a court battle that reached the state’s highest court before it was temporarily defused by the court’s action.


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