Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Sidelined For May Primary Elections Amid Ongoing Lawsuit

A controversial voter ID measure in Pennsylvania will again not be in effect for the state's primary elections in May, more than a year after it was signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett (R).

The decision came Thursday after lawyers on both sides of an upcoming lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the measure agreed that the state shouldn't require voters to show photo identification until the courts had a chance to rule on the case.

That trial is expected to begin in July.

Pennsylvania's voter ID measure has been mired in legal troubles since being passed and signed last March. A judge ruled last October to block enforcement of the law for November's general election after finding that the state had failed to make IDs adequately accessible. While ID wasn't required to cast a vote, the judge allowed the state to continue an "education and advertising campaign" informing people about the forthcoming voting requirements. As in November, voters in the May primary will be asked to show applicable photo ID at their polling places, but will be allowed to cast ballots even if they don't have one.

Voting rights activists have strongly opposed voter ID measures in Pennsylvania and around the country, arguing that they threaten to disenfranchise voters -- particularly minorities, the elderly, or younger individuals -- who may either lack access to identification issuing services or may not have the necessary documents to obtain a new photo ID.

Voter ID advocates have countered, claiming that requiring photo ID to vote is about ensuring electoral integrity and preventing voter fraud, despite an absence of evidence that such crimes are committed with any frequency.



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