PA Supreme Court Takes Up Voter ID Challenge

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As the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard arguments today in a case challenging the state's strict Voter ID Law, it was Justice Seamus McCaffery who observed that his identification as a justice of the Supreme Court would not be acceptable ID for him to vote under this law.

He and Justice Debra McCloskey Todd grilled attorneys for the commonwealth on the law set to go into effect with the fall election. Justice Todd said that the law is a new burden for people who have been voting for decades. Their big question: Why is the commonwealth so intent on implementing this law in November?

"What's the rush?" Justice McCaffery asked at one point.

David Gersch, attorney for the voters challenging the law, made the point again and again saying: "There is too little time and too many people affected."

With less than two months to go until Election Day, the six-member Supreme Court is expected to move quickly to rule on the case. A Commonwealth Court judge previously ruled that the Voter ID Law could forward as planned.

Gersch, arguing that the right to vote is fundamental, made the case that the law would disenfranchise Pennsylvania voters, mainly because obtaining the required identification is difficult for some.

(The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center has called on the commonwealth to delay the implementation of the law after finding in a report released in August that potential barriers for voters seeking ID risks some votes not being counted.)

One member of the court who remained quiet throughout arguments was Chief Justice Ronald Castille, who is viewed as a key vote in this case.

For more coverage of the arguments, check out The Philadelphia Inquirer's report here.

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