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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.

"The respondents have agreed to a preliminary injunction through November," she said. "So that’s good news for everyone because we won’t have the kind of chaos that we had last year. And so we assume that the court will grant that."

Lawyers aren’t in agreement on the details of the possible injunction, however.

Voter ID opponents want the injunction to be in effect for as long as it takes to receive a ruling from the state Supreme Court, which will eventually hear the inevitable appeal to the lawsuit.

They also don’t want voters to be asked to show ID at all during any temporary block on the law, saying it causes confusion.

The state’s lawyers say the injunction must be narrowly tailored, so a soft rollout is appropriate, in which voters would be asked but not required to show ID at the polls.

Pennsylvania’s voter identification law was passed last spring, but it has never been enforced.