National and World News Writer
The Pennsylvania voter ID law has been blocked for November 6th. Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson issued a preliminary injunction against the state’s controversial voter ID law. “I am not still convinced 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,” he wrote.
As a result of this decision, Pennsylvanians will no longer be required to present a state-approved ID in order to vote this November. Judge Simpson said that on Election Day Pa voters can be asked to produce photo ID but, if they do not have one, they can still vote on a normal voting machine instead of using a provisional ballot.
Stevi Higgins said, “I think it’s good for now, but only a Band-Aid on a bigger cut. There’s still the issue of the law for future elections.”
The law is still valid, but the court found that the state could not implement the ID law because there was not enough done to insure “liberal access” to the picture ID cards. Judge Simpson’s ruling means the full voter ID law could be enforced starting next year. His ruling said he will schedule a further hearing on whether to issue a permanent injunction or not. The law was originally passed in March without support from the Democratic Party. The Republican Party believes that the ID law will guarantee the integrity of the electoral process by putting a stop to fraud; while the Democrats feel that Republicans are trying to suppress the votes of the poor and members of minority groups, who have a tendency to vote Democratic. Their argument is that the poor and members of minority groups are less likely to have the resources to go to a state office and acquire the needed identification.
Pennsylvania is one of 31 states with some form of voter ID in place. Four of the states: Georgia, Kansas, Tennessee and Indiana, require a photo ID to cast a regular ballot. Five other states, including Pa, have passed photo identification laws that are currently under review or legal challenge, while seven states have less restrictive photo ID laws.
Before the new ID law, first-time voters in Pa were allowed to show bank statements and utility bills if they did not have access to photo identification. Under the new law, all voters would be required to present a valid state sanctioned photo ID before they can cast their ballots.
To obtain a photo ID, residents must have a valid Social Security card; an official birth certificate or U.S. citizenship documents; and two proofs of residency, such as taxes records, lease agreements, mortgage documents, W-2 forms, current weapons permit, or utility bills.