PA Voter ID Decision

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A judge has blocked a voter identification requirement from going into effect on Election Day, a decision counted as a victory for Democratic opponents of the law.

The law requires each voter to show a valid photo ID but opponents say it could prevent the elderly and minorities from voting.

The decision came down from Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson and could be appealed to the state Supreme Court. It could be the last word on the law before the November 6 election.

Simpson's ruling orders the state to not enforce the photo ID requirement in this year's presidential election but does not stop the law from going into full effect next year.

Election workers will still be allowed to ask voters for a valid photo ID, but anyone without one can still vote on a regular voting machine and would not have to cast a provisional ballot or prove their identity to election officials.

Proponents of the law claim it will help to cut down on voter fraud and follows a wave of similar new voter identification requirements over the past couple of years, largely in Republican-controlled Legislatures.

Opposition has been fierce from organizations like the NAACP, AARP and the League of Women Voters. Democrats have accused Republicans of using Jim Crow tacticts to steal the White House from Obama by making it harder for many of his core supporters (young adults, poor, minorities and disabled) to vote.

The state Supreme Court had ordered Simpson to stop the law if he thought anyone eligible would be unable to cast a ballot or if he found the state had not complied with the law's promise of providing easy access to a photo ID that voters were required to carry on Election Day.

Last week, Governor Tom Corbett's administration overhauled the process for getting a voting-only ID card - an admission that the state had not met the Supreme Court's test for whether the law should stand.