In the ongoing battle between the state of Pennsylvania and the opponents of the state’s controversial voter ID laws, it appears that the trial will drag on slower than expected. The root of this slow down in the Commonwealth Court case is, according to WESA capital correspondent and WITF reporter Mary Wilson, a spat between the court’s two sides over a list of roughly 500 people whose attempts to attain identification proved fruitless.
According to the law’s challengers, the individuals on the list first sought valid ID from PennDOT prior to the 2012 election, but were told to instead pursue a department of state voting ID card, which exists as a last resort option for citizens who didn’t have the proper documents to get a drivers license. The plaintiffs claim that the listed citizens either did not receive a department of state ID at all, or received one after the election, effectively disenfranchising them.
The state however, maintains that a subset of the listed individuals were not properly qualified to get a department of state ID card at all, but will not explain why. Wilson reports that the law’s challengers say that “This is a small example of how the state disenfranchises people,” and will leave their case open in order to question the state’s witnesses on this issue.
The state’s method of defending the law has remained fairly consistent, Wilson says. When plaintiffs present a witness, the state has been “challenging them when they say that they were unable to get ID,” saying that they had not exhausted all of their options and might well have been able to get an ID had they continued their pursuit of one.