A Commonwealth Court judge is postponing Pennsylvania’s tough new voter identification requirement, ordering that it not be enforced in the presidential election.
The ruling comes just five weeks before the election. An appeal is possible. The 6-month-old law requires each voter to show a valid photo ID, but Judge Robert Simpson said the state had not assured him that all voters who need IDs will be able to get one by November.
He ordered a continuation of the soft roll-out of the law. Like in the April primaries, pollworkers will ask for ID on Election Day, but those without them can still cast a ballot.
Attorney Vic Walzcak says he has concerns the ruling will add to confusion around voter ID — leaving voters unsure whether they need to show ID or not.
Democrats and groups including the AARP and NAACP had mounted a furious opposition to a law Republicans say is necessary to prevent election fraud.
Critics have accused Republicans of using old-fashioned Jim Crow tactics to steal the White House and have highlighted stories of registered voters struggling to get a state photo ID.
The law was already a partisan lightning rod when a top Republican lawmaker boasted that it would allow GOP nominee Mitt Romney to beat Democratic President Barack Obama in Pennsylvania.