Costs of defending Pa. voter ID law undetermined

    It’s not yet clear how much the state will spend on a private law firm hired to defend Pennsylvania’s voter identification law.

    A belatedly posted contract to a state website leaves the total tab for services open-ended.

    Pennsylvania paid about $204,000 to the Philadelphia firm Drinker, Biddle and Reath for its services in the case in 2012, when the law went before the Commonwealth Court twice and the state Supreme Court.

    State officials say the firm hasn’t billed the commonwealth for services this year.

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    A contract with the state is supposed to be available on a public website, but it was only posted Friday afternoon after closing arguments were delivered to the judge in the case.

    The contract shows the Philadelphia attorneys charge between $325 and $495 an hour.

    Voter ID is also being defended by state lawyers from the Attorney General’s office and the governor’s Office of General Counsel.

    A spokesman for the Department of State, which is providing the payment, said he’s not sure why the contract wasn’t available earlier.

    The trial of the voter ID law has just wrapped up, and an appeal to the state Supreme Court is expected whenever the Commonwealth Court issues its ruling.

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