The voter ID law, passed by a GOP-dominated legislature without a single Democratic vote and signed into law in March by Corbett, requires voters to present an accepted form of photo ID at polling places on voting day. Detractors, Democrats and civil-rights groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union claim that the law was written for partisan advantage and will lead to disenfranchisement of the elderly and minorities. Republicans argue that such a law is necessary to prevent fraud and the sanctity of the “one-person, one-vote” principle.
The law was recently upheld in a decision by Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr., who wrote in a 70-page opinion that the law’s opponents had failed to demonstrate that voter disenfranchisement was “immediate or inevitable.” The law’s foes have pledged to appeal the decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which is split 3-3 between Republicans and Democrats.
The Department of Justice has said it was investigating the law for compliance with the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Schultz wrote that all questions about the law’s compliance with the
Voting Rights Act had been answered by Simpson’s decision. In addition,
he said the United States Supreme Court ruled a similar voter ID law in
Indiana constitutional in 2008, thereby making the case a “matter of
While defending the law, state officials admitted that no one had ever been prosecuted in Pennsylvania for in-person voter ID fraud and that there was no evidence that voter ID fraud had ever occurred in the state.
In June, Mike Turzai, a Republican state legislator, made headlines when he said the new law would help Mitt Romney win Pennsylvania in November.