The future of Pennsylvania’s recently passed voter ID law may be decided in Commonwealth Court.
A lawsuit filed Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the NAACP claims the the law, which requires voters to show state issued photo identification at the polls, is unconstitutional. The groups are asking the court to block enforcement of the law before the November election.
“We truly believe that if this law is allowed to go into effect that there are thousands of people who will be disenfranchised,” said Vic Walczak, Legal Director of ACLU-PA.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures [PDF], voter ID laws have been challenged and upheld in Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.
But similar measures in Wisconsin and Missouri were struck down by state courts. Walczak said his group will focus on those precedents, which hinged on the rights of voters who had previously voted but saw their access to the ballot impeded by new ID requirements.
“The courts have said, ‘No, you can’t justify disenfranchising longtime voters based on a fear of a non-problem,’ which is essentially what in-person voter ID is,” Walczak said.
The Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of State has said the law will prevent voter impersonation fraud at polling places, but has been unable to produce evidence that such fraud has been a widespread problem.