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Politics & Government

Hearing Underway On Challenge To Voter ID Law


Opening arguments have wrapped up in the hearing over the constitutionality of Pennsylvania's voter ID law.

Legal groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have asked Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson to bar the law's enforcement in the November general election.

David Gersh, an attorney with a private firm, said his team will call on people who are unable to secure the necessary photo identification. He also pointed out attorneys for the commonwealth have agreed they know of no incidents of in-person voter fraud, the only kind of fraud the law is designated to deter.

Gersh said witnesses his team will call in the next few days haven't been able to secure photo identification they'll need at the polls. He said they're not unique, but typical of Pennsylvania citizens who stand to lose their right to vote.

But Patrick Cawley, Senior Deputy State Attorney General, argued the hearing is not about whether the law is wise, or necessary.
He says the state will, by the end of August, provide special voter ID cards that will come with less-stringent requirements. No birth certificate, for example, will be necessary. Cawley argued the case is about the prevalence of photo identification to do all kinds of things, like board a plane.

Judge Simpson said he'll likely have a decision in the controversial case by mid-August. He added his ruling will likely only tee up the case for a state Supreme Court review before the November 6 election. He advised those gathered in the courtroom to think of him as the Supreme Court's hearing officer.