Judge Simpson hears final testimony in Pa. voter ID case

    [Update]

    The final day of the Pennsylvania voter ID’s second hearing in Commonwealth Court has seen testimony from witnesses called by lawyers challenging the law.  Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson closed testimony by saying he may strike wording so that someone who doesn’t have photo ID at the polls could still cast a provisional ballot without having to get a valid ID. 

     At the start of proceedings Thursday, Judge Simpson told lawyers on both sides of the voter ID case to remain calm, in spite of the pressure they’re all under.

    Lawyers challenging the law were frustrated in their attempts to present some witnesses.

    Attorneys for the state argued they had been surprised by names, which hadn’t been disclosed early enough, and the judge agreed.

    A handful of people took the stand to recount how they encountered various obstacles to getting that documentation.

    All but one of them noted numerous trips to PennDOT licensing centers. Some said they were charged for ID even though an ID for voting purposes is supposed to be free.

    One had difficulty getting her voter registration confirmed by PennDOT employees working with the Department of State.

    Others testified that PennDOT employees seemed to be unclear on the requirements of the law, offering inconsistent directions on what documents were needed, and sometimes not providing the correct documents at all.

    But all of these witnesses were able to ultimately get photo ID needed to vote. A fact not lost on the state’s attorneys defending the law.

    The judge has said he won’t rule on the case today, but he’s required to rule by next Tuesday on whether or not to block voter ID’s enforcement.

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