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Six weeks before election, Pennsylvania voter ID law back in court

September 27, 2012

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) – A judge will reconsider on Tuesday whether Pennsylvania‘s new voter-identification law unfairly burdens residents who must prove they are eligible to cast ballots in the November 6 presidential race.

The hearing before Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson is aimed at determining whether voters can easily get state-issued identification cards required to vote on November 6.

The proceeding was ordered by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which ruled earlier this month that if Simpson determines voters cannot easily obtain the IDs, he should block the law.

A national spotlight has focused on the court battle over the law passed last March by the state’s Republican-led legislature, as similar fights over potential voter disenfranchisement by ID laws are waged in Texas and South Carolina.

In August, Simpson upheld the law, but last week the state’s high court ordered him to reconsider that ruling.

Supporters of the voter ID law say it is aimed at ensuring that only those legally eligible to vote cast ballots. Critics say it is designed to keep minority voters, who typically vote Democratic away from the polls.

The law says that all voters must show either a state driver’s license, government employee ID or a state non-driver ID card to vote.

Under the state high court’s ruling, Simpson must look for unexpected roadblocks that threaten “liberal access” to voter IDs that are mandated by the law. If any hurdles are found, Simpson “is obliged to enter a preliminary injunction” by October 2, the Supreme Court said in a ruling last week.

(Writing by Barbara Goldberg; editing by Philip Barbara)

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/six-weeks-election-pennsylvania-voter-id-law-back-133923972.html

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