Voter ID on trial in Pennsylvania: Commonwealth Court Judge strikes down voter ID


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

We had to wait awhile for the decision in this case, but Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley has finally ruled, striking down Pennsylvania's voter ID law as an unreasonable burden on the fundamental right to vote (under the Pennsylvania Constitution). Judge strikes down Pa. voter ID:

A judge Friday struck down Pennsylvania's controversial voter-identification requirement, in a case that likely will wind up before the state's highest court.

Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard L. McGinley, a Democrat, said that the Republican-backed law would unreasonably burden the fundamental right to vote, and that the state had been unable to explain convincingly why it was necessary.

"Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election; the Voter ID Law does not further this goal," McGinley wrote in his 103-page ruling.

The law, one of the strictest in the nation, was signed by Republican Gov. Corbett in March 2012 over the protests of every Democratic lawmaker in Pennsylvania's Republican-controlled Legislature.

Enforcement of the law has been blocked by court orders pending resolution of the constitutional challenge. Both sides had vowed to appeal an unfavorable decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

A spokesman for Corbett did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Lawyer Witold J. Walczak of the American Civil Liberties Union, which helped lead the legal challenge, said "the act was plainly revealed to be nothing more than a voter-suppression tool."

The ruling is certain to be appealed.

Rick Hasen offers his Initial Thoughts on Today’s Ruling Striking Down Pa’s Voter ID Law on State Grounds.

Update: Here’s the ruling (pdf).