Voter ID Case Goes to State Supreme Court

The Pennsylvnaia Supreme Court will hear from opponents of the state's new Voter ID law on Thursday

Opponents of Pennsylvania's new voter ID will make their case Thursday before the state Supreme Court.

There's no timeframe for a ruling from the court—but the Nov. 6 General Election is fast approaching. October 9 is the last day to register to vote.

The Supreme Court is composed of three Republican and three Democratic justices (a seventh judge was suspended while she faces criminal charges). A 3-3 tie would affirm the decision of the lower court, according to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report.

Commonwealth Court  in August.

Supporters say the law will prevent voter fraud and imposes the same photo ID standard required in many common circumstances.

Challengers say the law is designed to disenfranchise poor and elderly voters who often support Democratic candidates. They cite as evidence state Rep. Mike Turzai's declaration that the law will allow Mitt Romney to win Pennsylvania.

A key question in the Supreme Court case will be how strictly courts should scrutinize voting rules, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer report.

Voters can now at PennDOT driver's license centers so they can comply with the law. As of Friday, PennDOT had issued 7,226 IDs for voting purposes. 

A few weeks ago, a federal three-judge panel ruled that a similar voter-ID law in Texas discriminates against poor and minority voters. In a "friend of the court" brief filed against the Pennsylvania law, a group of law professors argued that federal courts have struck down less stringent laws in three other states, Missouri, Georgia and Wisconsin, according to this editorial.


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