Ruling Axing Voter ID in Pennsylvania Reaffirmed by Judge

The state has 30 days to decide whether to appeal the ruling on Pennsylvania's voter ID law to the state Supreme Court.

Pennsylvania Judge Bernard McGinley reaffirmed his own ruling on the state’s voter ID law. He ruled in January that the central portion of the voter ID law — showing photo ID to vote — was unconstitutional in Pennsylvania. The state had asked McGinley, a Democrat, to reconsider his ruling later that month.

McGinley’s affirmed ruling now means the state has 30 days to appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Governor Tom Corbett is expected to file an appeal. The ACLU’s Vic Walczak likes his chances with an appeal: “All I say is I’d rather be defending this opinion on appeal than going after it,” he told the Patriot-News. After the original ruling, lawmakers who sponsored the bill were similarly optimistic. “We’ll win this,” Rep. Stan Saylor said.

The law is unlikely to go to the U.S. Supreme Court, per the York Daily Record. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld an Indiana voter ID law six years ago; the Pennsylvania law was modeled on that one.

State Republicans — who passed the voter ID law over the objection of Democrats in 2012 — could always go back and change the law: McGinley struck down the ruling because the said the law “does not provide a non-burdensome means of obtaining compliant photo ID.” Due to court injunctions, the law has never been enforced in the state.

If the state wants to win an appeal, it will have to hit at all the elements of McGinley’s ruling: “McGinley found there was no evidence of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania, that hundreds of thousands of eligible voters could have been disenfranchised, that obtaining a valid ID was difficult for many eligible voters and the state’s campaign to educate voters contained significant information.”

[AP/69 News]