The final day of the second hearing in Commonwealth Court on the Voter ID law saw testimony from witnesses called by lawyers challenging the law.
Judge Robert Simpson, under the order of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, is reconsidering his original decision not to grant an injunction to block the implementation of the law requiring voters to show a photo ID at the polls. At the start of proceedings Thursday, Judge Simpson told lawyers on both sides of the case to remain calm, in spite of the pressure they’re all under. Attorneys challenging the law were frustrated in their attempts to present some witnesses. But lawyers for the state argued that the names of some witnesses hadn’t been disclosed early enough, and the judge agreed.
A handful of people did take 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 I-D even though an I-D 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 I-D needed to vote, a fact not lost on the state’s attorneys defending the law.
The judge must rule by next Tuesday on whether or not to block Voter ID’s enforcement.
The judge has said he won’t rule on the case today, but he’s required to do so by next Tuesday.