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Commonwealth Court Set To Hear New Evidence On Implementation Of Voter ID Law

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Gregg_Cherrie--NEW Cherri Gregg
Cherri Gregg is the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsr...
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By Cherri Gregg

HARRISBURG (CBS) — Last week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered the lower court to reconsider its decision not to block the voter ID law. The Commonwealth Court is set to hold an evidentiary hearing Tuesday morning in Harrisburg.

Judge Robert Simpson is expected to hear testimony from state witnesses on the implementation of the voter ID law, as well as plaintiff witnesses on their experiences getting an ID from PennDOT.

“The Commonwealth has to prove two things,” says ACLU Legal Director Witold “Vic” Walczak. “One is that people can go into PennDOT and get an ID fairly easily without having to do anything but sign an affirmation. And then the second thing the Commonwealth has to show is that no voters will be disenfranchised. And frankly, we think it’s going to be impossible for the Commonwealth to meet that burden.”

Walczak says he expects the Commonwealth to present testimony from several state officials and says plaintiff lawyers will also present evidence.

“We have heard horror stories,” he says. “Stories about people waiting hours when they get there, about people turned away for all sorts of reasons. We think it will be perfectly clear after the trial that you can’t get an ID without having to jump through the ringer.”

At a press conference last week, Governor Tom Corbett said he thinks the Judge will make the right decision.

“I’m hopeful that he resolves it in a positive way and that we get a constitutionality ruling,” he said.

When asked whether he thinks the limited time before the election has a potential to disenfranchise voters:

“We can’t get ID to people who don’t come to PennDOT,” said Corbett. “People have had since March to get this ID.”

The evidentiary hearing is expected to take place Tuesday and continue to Thursday, if necessary. Plaintiffs say they will appeal to the high court if they are unsuccessful.

A ruling is expected on or before October 2nd.

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