Pennsylvania?s voter ID law?one of the most severe in the United States?was partially enjoined by a state judge on Monday. The ruling means that voters will be asked for photo ID at the polls, but those who do not have ID will still be allowed to cast their vote?and told they need to bring an ID for the next election.
"This is a major victory for working families, seniors, students and veterans," said AFSCME Council 13 Executive Director and International Vice President David R. Fillman. "Now we can down to the real work of getting candidates elected who have the best interest of all Americans in mind."
Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson made his decision after two days of testimony and following guidelines from the state Supreme Court. With only five weeks until Election Day, it is likely that Simpson?s decision will not be appealed until after the election.
AFSCME, labor allies, NAACP, AARP and the League of Women Voters were among the voter ID opponents who have been raising awareness, preparing voters to adhere to the strict voting law and working to keep as many Keystone State voters as possible from disenfranchisement.
Before the ruling was handed down, the Washington Post featured the story of one Philiadelphian, Cheryl Ann Moore, who works for Thomas Jefferson Hospital (an AFSCME-NUHHCE 1199C represented facility), and how difficult it was for her?and, by extension, thousands of others?to get the state's new ID. Four hours is more than many working Americans can afford to spend to get an identification card "For Voting Purposes Only."
Pennsylvania's voter ID law is a solution looking for a problem?more people are struck by lightning than try to commit voter fraud. The voter ID law gained notoriety in June when Republican state House Leader Mike Turzai said, "Voter ID?which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania?done."
Simpson did not rule on the constitutionality of the voter ID law, only whether or not the Pennsylvania government has made proper identification accessible to all eligible voters, as per the state Supreme Court?s guidelines.