In one of the more high-profile cases of voter suppression ahead of the November presidential elections, a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court judge has issued an injunction that blocks the state’s strict Voter ID law and effectively clears the way for voters to cast regular ballots without government-issued identification cards, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Regarding the decision, Judge Robert E. Simpson wrote:
I cannot conclude the proposed changes cure the deficiency in liberal access [to ID’s] identified by the Supreme Court. I reject the underlying assertion that the offending activity is the request to produce photo ID; instead, I conclude that the salient offending conduct is voter disenfranchisement.
Watch Pennsylvania voters discuss the ruling here:
Naturally, the law’s Republican sponsor state Representative Daryl Metcalfe angrily responded with, “Justice Simpson’s final decision is out of bounds with the rule of law, constitutional checks and balances for the individual branches of state government, and most importantly, the will of the people. Metcalfe called voters who didn’t have government-issue ID cards “lazy,” regardless of the reasons why individuals weren’t able to obtain them.
The Advancement Project has been one of the leading active voices against the oppressive voter ID laws nationwide and weighed in on today’s ruling as well:
“We are very glad voters will not be turned away from the polls this November if they do have an ID,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Judith Browne Dianis. “The evidence made it clear to the judge that this law would indeed disenfranchise voters and that the Commonwealth was not equipped to implement it fairly right now.”
But not all is perfect with the ruling, added Advancement Project’s Penda D. Hair.
While we’re happy that voters in Pennsylvania will not be turned away if they do not have an ID, we are concerned that the ruling will allow election workers to ask for ID at the polls and this could cause confusion. This injunction serves as a mere Band-Aid for [the] law’s inherent problems, not an effective remedy.”
Still, this serves as a much-needed victory for Pennsylvania’s residents and the protection of their voting rights. With hope, all of the states involved with attempting to negotiate these voter ID laws will follow suit.