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Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Is Back In Court Today

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(A sign at a Penndot center advertises that it offers a new, less stringent form of ID card usable only for voting purposes.  File photo by John Ostapkovich)

(A sign at a Penndot center advertises that it offers a new, less stringent form of ID card usable only for voting purposes. File photo by John Ostapkovich)

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

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The voter ID law is back in Commonwealth Court this morning, as the Judge in the case checks in with both sides for a status conference. The law’s opponents don’t plan on giving up the fight anytime soon.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson is expected to layout the timeline for the remainder of the case, including the date when a final decision on the voter ID law could be made.

“We’re probably looking at a year, year and a half to get to a final decision,” says ACLU Attorney Vic Walczak.

Judge Simpson’s October ruling only stopped the voter ID law for November 6th general election, which means the law is currently in effect and could be enforced in future elections. Walczak says the plaintiffs short-term goal is to block the law for the May primary.

“The best result would be to extend the injunction until the courts can consider the heavy duty constitutional issues involved here at an appropriate pace, rather than on a rocket docket,” says Walczak.

Department of State spokesman Ron Ruman says the Commonwealth’s formal voter ID education effort is over and it plans to forge ahead.

“Unless Judge Simpson does something to overturn it, the law is still in effect,” says Ruman. “We will continue to work through the media to let the public know.”

Committee of Seventy Vice President and Policy Director Ellen Kaplan says the issues over voter ID have not changed, just because the presidential race is over.

“We now have the same question: how do we get the word out to voters that they’ll need photo ID to vote during the primary on May 21st,” says Kaplan. “Right now, what we’re doing as a coalition is trying to figure out what we need to do to continue that effort.”

In the meantime, there are many months of legal maneuvers before this controversy will be complete.

“The people who have been fighting against this photo ID requirements are not going away,” says Walczak. “They are not going to stop until this law is ruled unconstitutional or unless the legislature makes some changes.”

The conference will take place in Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg beginning at 10am.

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