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PA Voter ID Battle Lost, War Won

In Pennsylvania, election-integrity advocates lost a battle but won the war. Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson today blocked implementation of Pennsylvania’s photo voter-identification law, but only for the upcoming election. The court rejected the request of voter ID opponents to find the Pennsylvania law to be held unconstitutional. Friction involving implementation, however, of the law in time for November’s election led the court to block the requirement.

Nevertheless, voters in Pennsylvania in the upcoming election will still be asked to show photo identification. If a voter, however, does not have photo identification, he or she will still be allowed to vote. In future elections, Pennsylvania voters must show valid photo identification.

Judge Simpson was constrained by the logic of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Two weeks ago, that court required Simpson to “make a present assessment of the actual availability of the alternative identification cards.” At issue was whether or not PennDOT was effectively distributing the free cards. The Supreme Court required Judge Simpson to find essentially either perfect PennDOT implementation or “to enter a preliminary injunction.”

Anyone who has experienced Pittsburgh potholes in springtime knows about PennDOT effectiveness. And thus, Judge Simmons could not allow the law to go into full effect.

That’s the end of the good news for the vote-fraud deniers who opposed the law.

Incidentally, the lead plaintiff, Viviette Applewhite, claimed that she was unable to get photo identification.  The day after Judge Simpson ruled against her last month, Applewhite went out and got a photo ID. Like every other challenge brought to photo ID in every other case, Applewhite’s claims of disenfranchisement were actually litigation bluster.