On the morning of Oct. 2, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson ruled that the Pennsylvania Voter ID law will be temporarily halted until after the Nov. 6 general election.
Voters will still be asked to show an acceptable photo ID, but if they don’t have one, they will still be able to vote.
The Voter ID law, which was enacted this March, has since created political controversy with opponents saying that the law will disenfranchise voters, while proponents say it will prevent voter fraud.
Following the controversy of the Voter ID law, Montgomery County has issued special voter IDs in order to prevent disenfranchisement.
However, in another Patch report, recent statewide efforts in issuing valid government IDs were not up to Simpson’s expectations, and were part of the reasoning behind his ruling.
“While I am disappointed in the judge’s temporary ruling, I continue to believe in the principle of the law and expect that it will be implemented for future elections,” Lower Providence Board of Supervisors member Jason Sorgini wrote in an e-mail.
In an August Patch article about Simpson’s initial ruling, which originally upheld the law, Sorgini said that providing photo identification has become commonplace, as is the opportunity in attaining such identification.
In that same article, chairman of the board Rick Brown, shared Sorgini’s sentiment over the law, and further stated that the photo identification may be more of an urban issue as opposed to a suburban one, as most people in Lower Providence Township already posses a state-issued driver’s license.
He further noted that in the April primary elections, only a few voters were turned away, due to the lack of valid ID, when the Voter ID law was still in effect.
However, in a recent interview with Patch, Brown did say he understood Simpson’s decision.
“I’m not surprised by the judge’s decision,” Brown said. “I don’t think they wanted to disenfranchise anyone.”
Brown, who has worked the 1-2 Arrowhead School-polling place as a constable since the 1970s, said that he’s seen voters walk away from polling lines, if the lines became too long.
He said that the general elections always bring out a surge of voters, and filling out provisional ballots due to the lack of valid Voter ID, may have created a backlog of waiting voters.
Brown said that he is definitely in favor of the law and adds that the law will also, albeit indirectly, aid citizens in their time of need.
“People need to have IDs for their own protection,” Brown said.
According to Brown, valid identification would help first-responders contact unconscious victims’ families for such information as allergies to certain medications.
“The county-issued ID would be good for that, as well,” Brown said.
While voters may temporarily not need a valid voter ID, voters still must be registered with the state of Pennsylvania to vote. The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 6 general elections is Oct. 9.
For more information on how to register to vote, visit www.votespa.com.