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Pennsylvania Judge Blocks Voter ID Requirement

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(HARRISBURG, Pa.) -- A Pennsylvania judge ruled on Tuesday that voters there will not have to produce a photo ID to vote this November.

Judge Robert Simpson issued a preliminary injunction against the state’s controversial voter ID law, writing that he expected more photo IDs to have been issued to voters who need them in time for the next election.

“I am not still convinced,” he wrote, “that there will be no voter disenfranchisement arising out of the Commonwealth’s implementation of a voter identification requirement for purposes of the upcoming election.”

In his opinion, Simpson said the poll workers could still ask for the IDs, but could not turn away those who don’t have them.  He also said the state could continue to educate voters about the law.

Opponents of the law said they were pleased that the judge said voters won’t be turned away.  They were concerned that Tuesday’s ruling might still cause confusion at the polls.

“While we’re happy that voters in Pennsylvania will not be turned away if they do not have an ID, we are concerned that the ruling will allow election workers to ask for ID at the polls and this could cause confusion,” said Advancement Project Co-Director Penda D. Hair. “This injunction serves as a mere Band-Aid for the law’s inherent problems, not an effective remedy.”

Election law expert Rick Hasen says, “In a nutshell, the judge has found that there will still be at least some voter disenfranchisement caused by the new law, because it does not appear that Pennsylvania officials could get IDs into the hands of everyone who wants one before the election.”

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