Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania
Witold Walczak (ACLU of Pennsylvania); Jennifer Clarke (PILCOP); Marian Schneider, Denise Lieberman (Advancement Project); David P. Gersch, Donna Patterson, John A. Freedman, Michael Rubin, Whitney Moore, Bassel C. Korkor, Dawn Yamane Hewett, Kate Dumouchel, Daniel Bernstein (Arnold & Porter)
On May 1, 2012, the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the Advancement Project, the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP), and the Washington, DC law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP filed a lawsuit in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania to overturn the voter ID law passed by the General Assembly in March 2012.
The lawsuit alleges that the state's voter photo ID law violates the Pennsylvania Constitution by depriving citizens of their most fundamental constitutional right - the right to vote. The plaintiffs are asking the Commonwealth Court to issue an injunction blocking enforcement of the law before November's election. If the law is not overturned, most of the plaintiffs will be unable to cast ballots in the fall, despite the fact that many of them have voted regularly for decades.
A hearing on the challenge was heard before Judge Robert Simpson July 25-August 2, 2012. On August 15, 2012, Judge Simpson declined to issue a preliminary injunction. We will appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court.
On September 18, 2012, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued an order returning the case back to the lower court for reconsideration.
On October 2, 2012, Judge Robert Simpson issued a partial preliminary injunction that allows people to vote without an ID without using a provisional ballot - similar to the soft roll-out used in the primary. Voters without an acceptable ID will be given information at the polls saying that they will need ID for the next election and providing information about getting free ID through PennDOT.
The voter ID law will NOT be effect for the May 2013 primary for in-person voters. Voters will be asked to show ID but will still be able to vote regularly (not provisionally) without showing ID.
Judge Simpson has schedule a trial on the permanent injunction to begin Monday, July 15, 2013, in Harrisburg.
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