Court Blocks Pennsylvania Voter ID Law for 2012 Election

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 2 2012 10:23 AM

Court Blocks Pennsylvania Voter ID Law for 2012 Election

Pennsylvania's new voter ID law has been put on hold; it will not be in effect for the 2012 general election. Judge Robert Simpson, the Commonwealth Court judge who heard the case against the law -- initially, then after the state Supreme Court kicked it back down -- has allowed an injunction. It's the outcome I saw coming when I covered the trial this summer. There simply isn't an effective, logistical way to get every legitimate voter the form he needs to vote, even if he's using a provisional ballot. Will there be a way by 2014? Possibly! Which is what some petitioners argued, all along, pointing to "soft rollouts" in other states.

We pause now to remember the words of Pennsylvania's Republican leader.

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This isn't the first belly-flop by Pennsylvania Republicans who want to boost Mitt Romney. They spent some of 2011 debating a law that would have split up the state's electoral votes between its newly gerrymandered congressional districts. If that law had passed, even if Romney lost Pennsylvania by the McCain margin, he'd be in position to grab up to 10 electoral votes -- as many as he'd get by winning Nevada and New Hampshire. Alas.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.