Pennsylvania officials willing to extend temporary block on voter ID

Lawyers in the trial over the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s voter identification law are in some agreement the requirement should be blocked in the election this November.


Word about the state’s willingness to see the voter ID law go unenforced for the fourth election in a row came during closing arguments Thursday.

The two legal teams disagree on the fine print – the type and length of the injunction.

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Challengers want the law blocked completely, saying voters in November shouldn’t even be asked to show ID because it would cause confusion.

But Alicia Hickok, one of the commonwealth’s lawyers, says voters should be asked but not required to show ID. That’s how things worked in the election this past May.

“We know that that soft rollout there was nothing objectionable about it,” Hickok. “So the idea that there would be anything other than another soft rollout – there’s nothing to support that.”

The state’s offer to extend the temporary block is surprising, said Jennifer Clarke, one of the lawyers arguing against the measure.

“The respondents have agreed to a preliminary injunction through November. So that’s good news for everyone because we won’t have the kind of chaos that we had last year,” Clarke said. “And so we assume that the court will grant that.”

Opponents also want the voter ID law blocked not just for the upcoming election, but until the state Supreme Court rules on the inevitable appeal of the case.

In addition to a preliminary injunction, a Commonwealth Court judge will decide whether to strike down the law on the grounds it violates the state constitutional protection of the right to vote.

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