Voter ID

Government & Politics
7:37 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Corbett Mulling Next Move On Voter ID

Days after a state judge struck down Pennsylvania voter identification law, Gov. Tom Corbett says he’s not sure whether his administration will appeal the ruling.

The law was passed at the urging of the Corbett administration by the Republican-controlled Legislature, over protests from Democrats. Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley rejected the law in a ruling released last Friday, calling voter ID unconstitutional based in part on its flawed implementation and its foundation on a “vague concern” of voter fraud.

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Government & Politics
10:20 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Judge Spikes Photo ID Requirement for PA Voters

A state judge has struck down the law requiring Pennsylvania's voters to show photo identification at the polls.

Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley said the requirement that was the centerpiece of Pennsylvania's embattled 2012 voter identification law places an unreasonable burden on the fundamental right to vote.

The decision paves the way for an expected appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Republicans approved the law over the protests of Democrats.

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Government & Politics
1:19 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Sen. Smith Opposes Voter ID Ads

Pennsylvania Sen. Matt Smith (D-Allegheny) is urging the commonwealth’s State Department to stop airing its voter ID advertisements.

The ads, which began running earlier this week, say voters will be asked, but not required, to show a photo ID at the polls, but Smith said the commercials are almost identical to the original ads that say photo ID is a requirement.

Smith calls the ads “confusing” and “misleading” because they give the impression that identification will be mandatory for the November municipal elections.

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Government & Politics
4:15 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

PA Judge Bars ID Enforcement in November Election

A state judge on Friday barred enforcement of Pennsylvania's strict voter-identification law in the Nov. 5 general election.

The state also cannot require local elections officials to verbally tell voters at the polls that photo IDs could be required in future elections, but officials can distribute written material about the law, Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley said.

McGinley's ruling marked the third consecutive election in which enforcement of the law has been blocked by court order.

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Government & Politics
10:05 am
Tue August 6, 2013

How Much Is Voter ID Defense Costing PA?

Pennsylvania taxpayers still haven’t seen a final tab on what the state is being charged by a private firm to defend the voter identification law in court. In fact, a contract was not publicly available until the day after closing arguments were delivered in the case.

Philadelphia firm Drinker, Biddle and Reath hasn’t yet sent an invoice to the state for services rendered in 2013.

The hourly rate ranges from $325 to $495. Last year, the firm was paid more than $204,000 for defense of voter ID as judges considered temporarily blocking the law.

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Government & Politics
4:00 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

State Willing to Extend Temporary Block on Voter ID Law

The commonwealth is willing to extend the temporary block on the voter ID law through the upcoming general election in the fall.

The statement came from lawyers for the state during closing arguments in the Commonwealth Court trial of the constitutionality of the voter identification law.

Challengers argue it should be not just blocked temporarily, but struck down.

Jennifer Clarke, one of the lawyers arguing against the measure, said the commonwealth’s offer to extend the temporary block surprised her.

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Government & Politics
5:01 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Closing Arguments Postponed in PA Voter ID Trial

Closing arguments in the trial of Pennsylvania's voter-identification law have been postponed for a day, but the state's legal team filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley scheduled the arguments for Thursday and said he'd review the motion.

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Government & Politics
10:57 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Statisticians' Reports Paint Two Divergent Pictures In PA Voter ID Trial

Court is in recess for now in the trial over the constitutionality of Pennsylvania's voter identification law. The trial is scheduled to resume on Tuesday.

Questions of numbers and statistical techniques filled the ninth day of testimony. Lawyers spent hours questioning the state's statistician, William Wecker, who offered a critique of the estimate provided in testimony last week that half a million Pennsylvania voters don't have proper voter ID on record with the commonwealth.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:23 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Pennsylvania Voter ID Case Drags On

Disputes over a list presented by the plaintiffs has slowed down the Voter ID case.
Credit Flickr


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.

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Government & Politics
7:27 am
Thu July 25, 2013

State Begins Case in Voter ID Trial

Eight days into trial, lawyers defending Pennsylvania's voter identification law still may ask the presiding judge to dismiss the case entirely.

Nils Hagen-Frederiksen, spokesman for the lawyers defending the requirement, said a motion may be filed to dismiss certain witness testimony and claims made by the challengers.

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Government & Politics
7:34 am
Wed July 24, 2013

For Voter ID, State Suggests Witnesses Should Ask Their Lawyers

State lawyers defending Pennsylvania's voter identification law are pointing out that those who claim they've been unable to get a valid ID haven't exhausted every possibility, even if that possibility comes from the legal team bringing them into court.

Challengers have presented several witnesses who testify they've been unable to get the proper ID for voting because they can't get to a PennDOT licensing center. They cite age, pain, disability and difficulty finding a ride.

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Government & Politics
7:34 am
Tue July 23, 2013

Memo Reveals Agencies Concerned Voter ID Would Disenfranchise Some

Testimony in the second week of a trial of Pennsylvania's voter identification law is digging into the documentation of how the language of the law was finalized.

Two state agencies suggested in 2011 that the voter ID legislation then making its way through the Legislature should make it easier for elderly and disabled voters to cast absentee ballots.

A memo from the Department of Aging and the Department of State points out the change would provide a way for such people to vote even if they had trouble getting photo ID because of illness or limited mobility.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:38 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Voter ID On Trial: An Update From the Capitol

The ongoing voter ID law case is moving away from claims that the law will prevent voter fraud.
Credit Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr


Pennsylvania’s controversial voter ID law has come back to trial in the Commonwealth court, and both sides are making serious plays.  WITF’s  capital reporter Mary Wilson says the first few days of testimony were brimming with testimony from those challenging the laws, but talk of voter fraud -- one of the issues legislators emphasized most when passing the law -- was surprisingly limited.

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Voter ID Law
6:27 am
Wed July 17, 2013

Sparring Over Numbers in Voter ID Trial

The battle over numbers swells anew in the voter ID trial, headed into its third day in Commonwealth Court Wednesday.

Tuesday's testimony began with a statistician's analysis that more than half a million registered voters in Pennsylvania would have no valid ID issued by PennDOT or the Department of State in the upcoming general election.

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Voter ID Law
7:02 am
Tue July 16, 2013

Voter ID Challengers Hint at Telling Memo

Lawyers challenging the voter ID law say the governor knew it was trouble.

In the opening argument for the plaintiffs, attorney Michael Rubin, said he'll share a memo sent by state agencies to the Corbett administration warning the law would disenfranchise elderly and disabled eligible voters unless changes were made. The administration did not push lawmakers to make the suggested changes.

The memo, Rubin said, is from November 2011 — several months before the passage of voter ID.

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Government & Politics
10:20 pm
Sun July 14, 2013

Voter ID Fight Resumes in Pennsylvania Court

Pennsylvania's controversial voter ID law will get its day in court starting this week, but it's unlikely a resolution will be reached any time soon.
Credit jamelah / Flickr

Pennsylvania's controversial voter ID law is back in Commonwealth Court this week, but it's unlikely to be decided conclusively any time soon.

Voting rights advocates are seeking a permanent injunction against the 2012 law, which requires Pennsylvania voters to present state-issued photo identification in order to cast a ballot. Implementation was postponed ahead of last year's general election and again in 2013 in advance of the May primary.

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Voter ID Law
7:46 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Opponents of Voter ID Rally Before Monday Trial

NAACP President Ben Jealous speaks in opposition of Pennsylvania's voter ID law at the Capitol rotunda Thursday.
Credit Mary Wilson / 90.5 WESA

Groups opposed to the state's voter ID law are gearing up for Monday's trial of the law in Commonwealth Court.

The full panoply of liberal political interests filled the Capitol rotunda Thursday. Roughly 150 people turned out — union members, environmental advocates and civil rights activists — all to protest Pennsylvania's law requiring people to have certain state-issued IDs to cast ballots.

The NAACP's national president Ben Jealous called Pennsylvania "ground zero for the fight for voting rights in the north."

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Government & Politics
2:27 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

No ID Needed For PA Voters in May Primary

Pennsylvania voters will not be required to show photo identification in the May 21 primary election under an agreement signed Thursday by both sides in a pending lawsuit.

Lawyers representing the Corbett administration and plaintiffs who are challenging the constitutionality of the voter ID law in state Commonwealth Court agreed that the law won't be enforced as voters choose nominees for judicial and municipal offices.

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