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 alleged 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.

  • A preliminary injunction was issued on October 2, 2012, blocking the voter ID law from going into effect for the November 2012 election for voters casting ballots in person. That injunction was extended to cover the May 2013 primary. 
  • The trial for a permanent injunction began Monday, July 15, 2013, and concluded July 31, 2013. Judge Bernard L. McGinley presided. 
  • On January 17, 2014, a judge issued an injunction permanently blocking the enforcement of Pennsylvania's voter ID law. 
  • On Monday, April 28, 2014, Judge McGinley denied the commonwealth’s motion to reconsider his January 17 ruling in which he found the voter ID law to be unconstitutional. The Commonwealth has 30 days to appeal to Pennsylvania Supreme Court. 
  • On Thursday, May 8, 2014, Governor Tom Corbett announced that the commonwealth would not be appealing a Commonwealth Court judge’s ruling that prohibits enforcement of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law on the grounds that the law unconstitutionally disenfranchises large numbers of voters. 

Press Releases


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 Dumouch

Date filed

May 1, 2012


Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania