(BALTIMORE)— Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley struck down the state’s controversial voter ID law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.
“This decision helped end our three-year long fight to protect the rights of voters in Pennsylvania,” said Jotaka Eaddy, NAACP Voting Rights Director and Senior Advisor to the President and CEO. “This Court recognizes that unnecessary barriers to the ballot box are counter to the principle this nation holds most dear—that all citizens should have free and unfettered access to the ballot box. The NAACP, Pennsylvania State Conference, ACLU, and other plaintiffs have worked tirelessly for this moment and we hope to repeat this victory across the nation.”
Judge McGinley’s court opinion states, “This Court holds that the photo ID provisions in the Voter ID Law violate the fundamental right to vote and unnecessarily burden the hundreds of thousands of electors who lack compliant photo ID.…Further, a substantial threat still exists to the franchise of hundreds of thousands of registered electors, and uncounted qualifies electors, despite Respondents’ unfettered ability to continue, strengthen, and clarify voter education efforts and to provide compliant ID to the hundreds of thousands of elector who lack it.”
“We applaud the court for ensuring that a law created to suppress the vote of citizens across the state cannot be implemented,” said Jerry Mondesire, NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference President.
He continued, “As we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. this week and next, this serves as a reminder that the movement is not over and the battle can be won. This effort galvanized the people of the Commonwealth and with their support we were able to lead a strong case and protect the rights of voters.”
The law, passed in the General Assembly ahead of the 2012 Presidential election, has been barred from enforcement since 2012 due to a series of temporary injunctions. Plaintiffs in the case produced additional evidence in 2013 during a summer trial period.
State officials were unable to counter evidence showing lack of access to the proposed identification.
You can read the full court opinion: http://www.post-gazette.com/attachment/2014/01/17/Judge-decision-commonwealth-voter-ID-law-unconstitutional.pdf