On Wednesday, in a closely watched case, a state judge in Pennsylvania declined to block the state’s controversial voter ID law from taking effect. If the ruling is upheld on appeal, registered voters in the state will be required to show acceptable photo ID during the general election in November.
There’s been a lot of attention on this lawsuit, given the closeness of the election and greater focus on voter ID laws, which critics say could disenfranchise voters who are likely to lack photo ID, often the poor, elderly, and minorities. (To catch up on this issue, check out our guide on everything you need to know about voter ID laws.)
Lawsuits have continued to crop up challenging the laws, mostly on the grounds that they violate state constitutions. Meanwhile, Republican-led state legislatures are continuing to pass the laws.
To get a real sense of where things may be going, it’s helpful to look at the past. Here’s a rundown of state court decisions on voter ID laws:
Three rulings in favor of voter ID laws
Rulings against voter ID laws
In October 2006, the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s decision striking down the state’s voter ID law for violating the state constitution. The court ruled that there was no compelling state interest to justify the burdens posed by the law. It pointed to the lack of any reported instances of voter impersonation fraud in the state and to the fact that the law was not tailored to prevent other types of voter fraud aside from impersonation. There was one dissenting vote.
Missouri passed a photo ID law again in 2011, but it was vetoed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. Earlier this year, a ballot proposal to amend the state Constitution for a photo ID requirement was rejected by a state judge and not revised before the legislature recessed.
In March 2012, the first of two state judges in Wisconsin to rule on the law barred enforcement of the law. The judge warned of possible disenfranchisement of voters that could include “those struggling souls who, unlike the vast majority of Wisconsin voters, for whatever reason will lack the financial, physical, mental, or emotional resources” to comply with the law.
In July, a separate state judge similarly blocked the law. The judge cited the time and cost of obtaining photo ID and the strong voting protections extended by the Wisconsin Constitution.
Although the Wisconsin Attorney General filed an appeal of these two decisions to the state Supreme Court, it’s not likely the appeals will be considered before the November election.
In Wednesday’s ruling out of Pennsylvania, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson referenced many of these past court rulings, particularly the ones that upheld voter ID laws. He also stressed the need for deference to the Pennsylvania legislature. Criticism of Pennsylvania’s law had intensified after the Republican majority leader of the state’s House had been quoted saying the voter ID law would benefit Republicans. Although the judge called the remark “disturbing,” he wrote that it didn’t change his reasoning.
Pennsylvania’s photo ID requirement, the judge concluded, “is a reasonable, non-discriminatory, non-severe burden when viewed in the broader context of the widespread use of photo ID in daily life.”
That doesn’t end things for Pennsylvania. The Justice Department has launched its own investigation into some states’ voter ID laws, including Pennsylvania’s.
Link to original article from ProPublica
Most people already know or sense that Pennsylvania has dropped from 8th to 47th in job creation under Corbett. That’s an important issue that Corbett lies about in this campaign mailer.
The real message in this mailer is subliminal. “The effectiveness of subliminal messaging has been demonstrated to prime individual responses and stimulate mild emotional activity.” – Wikipedia
The images of Gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf are several shades darker than the images of President Obama in this Republican mailer. The reality is that Wolf’s skin color is much lighter than Obama’s.
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Pennsylvania officials have refused to disclose information that freight railroads provide about shipments of volatile crude oil through the state.
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A federal district court judge struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage Tuesday, handing gay rights advocates their second legal victory in as many days.
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Bucks County activists hung a cease and desist order outside Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick's Langhorne office.
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Sometimes it's the thought that counts.
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Pennsylvania voters will not have to show photo identification at the polls until the Commonwealth Court makes a final decision in the lawsuit challenging the controversial law. Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard L. McGinley issued an order on August 16th extending the preliminary injunction of the voter ID law until the trial court makes a decision on a permanent injunction. That decision, which is separate from today’s ruling, is not expected until later this year. “We are very pleased that hundreds of thousands of eligible voters will be able to cast...
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Last month, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus called up “states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red” to rig future presidential elections by changing the way electoral votes are allocated. Under Priebus’ proposal, blue states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania would stop awarding electoral votes to the winner of the state as a whole, and instead would award them one-by-one to the winner of each congressional district. Meanwhile, red states would continue to award 100 percent of their...
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Milton and Catherine Hershey signed the deed of trust establishing the Milton Hershey School as an orphanage in 1909, funding it with revenue from the famous candy company. Since then, the school has officially been dedicated to “the purpose of nurturing and educating children in need.” Because its founder gave MHS Trust a controlling interest in the Hershey Company, today it boasts a massive $8.5 billion in assets and also owns Hershey Entertainment & Resorts (operating hotels and an amusement park). In keeping...
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HARRISBURG -- A judge has blocked the state from discounting ballots cast next month by voters who lack the photo identification required under the new voter ID law.
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A Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday postponed the enforcement of the state's new strict voter ID requirement until after the November presidential election.
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State Supreme Court sends decision back to lower court
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Posted every few miles on the river's banks were groups of protestors, challenging the governor's pro-drilling policy with signs and chants.
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