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Judge halts Pa.'s tough new voter ID requirement

By Kimberly Davidow, Reporter
Published On: Oct 01 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 02 2012 05:35:10 PM CDT

Pennsylvania voters will get a pass on presenting a photo ID at the polls next month.

HARRISBURG, Pa. -

Pennsylvania voters will get a pass on presenting a photo ID at the polls next month.

Judge Robert Simpson ruled Tuesday that a key part of the state's controversial voter ID law could wait until next year.

His ruling will postpone part of the state's new voter ID requirements until 2013.

Tom Herman, chairman of the Berks County Democratic Party, said the injunction means, for now, most voters will not be required to present a photo ID card at the polls in November.

"This was a very oppressive and obtrusive law to begin with, designed to suppress almost three-quarters of a million voters in Pennsylvania," said Herman.

"I'm very disappointed with the judge's reaction. At my town hall meetings in Berks and Lehigh counties, people have told me they support the idea of using a voter ID for voting," said Pa. Sen. David Argall, R-29th District.

The law was challenged by the AARP, the NAACP and other groups because they said it was too difficult for some voters to get the required ID.

With the presidential election just five weeks away, most voters will not have to present a picture ID card when they cast their ballots.

"For any party in power to pass legislation to suppress that ability to vote I think is simply abusing the constitution of Pennsylvania," said Herman, calling it an attempt to keep voters who traditionally vote Democratic away from the polls.

Supporters of the law, like Argall, believe requiring ID at the polls is a key way to prevent voter fraud.

"We use it in the bank. We use it in the drug store," said Argall.

An appeal could still be filed in the state Supreme Court.

Tuesday's ruling does not affect first-time voters. They will still be required to show their photo ID.