A Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday blocked the state from enforcing its strict voter ID law before the presidential election, citing “disenfranchisement” concerns. The ruling in a vital battleground state comes five weeks before the election.
The ruling, which could still be appealed, followed two days of testimony about the state’s efforts to make it easier to get a valid photo ID, as well as possible hurdles for those seeking proper identification.
The challenge to the six-month-old law is one of several across the country to laws — largely backed by Republican legislators — requiring voters to show photo identification.
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Republicans say the laws are necessary to prevent election fraud. But Democrats, who in Pennsylvania joined up with the AARP and NAACP in opposition, claim residents could be blocked from exercising their right to vote.
Judge Robert Simpson said, in his opinion Tuesday, he anticipates that by Election Day, “the gap between the photo IDs issued and the estimated need will not be closed.”
He added: “Consequently, I am not still convinced in my 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.”
The NAACP seems pretty happy about the ruling. They released the following statements today:
Benjamin Todd Jealous, President & CEO of the NAACP:
“Today’s ruling is a victory for the Pennsylvania voter. On November 6, voters will no longer need to produce an identification to ensure that their vote is counted. As we look towards 2013, the Pennsylvania NAACP will take this battle from the courts to the legislature. We are confident that this state will not tolerate voter suppression.”
Jerome Mondesire, President of the NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference:
“The ruling today is encouraging for all Pennsylvanians. Unfortunately, it is a decision that should have been made a long time ago. With 35 days left until Election Day, the state must work with the NAACP and other leading organizations to limit voter confusion. We will work to ensure that poll workers do not wrongly enforce the law, and that all counties are monitored on Election Day.”
Voter ID laws are attempts to make sure that the person voting is who they claim to be. While the NAACP and the Obama DOJ have constantly said it is an attempt to keep minorities and poor people from voting, that has yet to be proven. What it is designed to do is make sure that no one cheats when election day comes around.