HARRISBURG, Pa. – Today is the deadline for a judge to decide whether Pennsylvania’s tough new law requiring voters to show photo identification can remain intact, a ruling that could swing election momentum to Republican candidates now trailing in polls on the state’s top-of-the-ticket races.
Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson is under a state Supreme Court order to rule no later than today, just five weeks before voters decide whether to re-elect President Barack Obama, a Democrat, or replace him with Mitt Romney, a Republican.
Simpson heard two days of testimony last week and said he was considering invalidating a narrow portion of the law for the Nov. 6 election. An appeal to the state Supreme Court is possible.
Pennsylvania’s new law is among the toughest in the nation.
The high court told Simpson that he should stop the law from taking effect in this year’s election if he finds the state has not met the law’s promise of providing easy access to a photo ID or if he believes it will prevent any registered voter from casting a ballot.
The injunction Simpson was considering revolves around the portion of the law that allows a voter without valid photo ID at the polls to cast a provisional ballot. It would effectively excuse those voters from having to get a valid photo ID and show it to county election officials within six days after the election to ensure their ballot will count. Instead, they might be required to submit a signed declaration to the county.