HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Some political momentum could be on the line when a judge rules on whether to keep intact Pennsylvania's tough new law requiring voters to show photo identification in next month's presidential election.
Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson is under a state Supreme Court order to rule no later than Tuesday, just five weeks before voters decide whether to re-elect President Barack Obama, a Democrat, or replace him with Mitt Romney, a Republican.
Simpson heard two days of testimony last week and said he was considering invalidating a narrow portion of the law for the Nov. 6 election. An appeal to the state Supreme Court is possible.
Up for grabs are Pennsylvania's valuable 20 electoral votes, the sixth most. For now, Republican candidates are trailing in polls on the state's top-of-the-ticket races.
The law, opposed furiously by Democrats, has nevertheless been a valuable Democratic Party tool to motivate volunteers and campaign contributions as other critics, including the NAACP, AARP and the League of Women Voters, hold voter education drives and protest rallies.
In recent months, Republicans have sent out fundraising appeals highlighting legal challenges to the law or an inquiry into the law by Obama's Department of Justice, and the party no doubt would add a court defeat to its rallying cry.
The state's Republican Party chairman, Rob Gleason, insisted Monday that supporting the law is about good policy, not about motivating party voters. But then he criticized Democrats for opposing the law and for using it as an election issue.
Don Adams of the Philadelphia-area Independence Hall Tea Party Association said his membership of thousands is closely watching the issue.
"I think it'll drive our people even more, but I think they're already driven," Adams said. "I don't know how much more you can drive them."
Christopher Borick, a pollster and assistant professor of political science at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, said he would expect Republicans to use the law's defeat to warn of higher Democratic voter turnout and make it part of the case for why efforts to turn out Republican voters are essential.
Pennsylvania's new law, among the toughest in the nation, is a signature accomplishment of Republicans in control of Pennsylvania state government who say they fear election fraud. But it is an emotional target for Democrats who call it a Jim Crow-style scheme to make it harder for their party's traditional voters, including young adults and minorities, who might not carry the right kind of ID or know about the law.
It was already a political lightning rod when a top state Republican lawmaker boasted to a GOP dinner in June that the ID requirement "is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania."
The high court told Simpson that he should stop the law from taking effect in this year's election if he finds the state has not met the law's promise of providing easy access to a photo ID or if he believes it will prevent any registered voter from casting a ballot.
The injunction Simpson was considering revolves around the portion of the law that allows a voter without valid photo ID at the polls to cast a provisional ballot. It would effectively excuse those voters from having to get a valid photo ID and show it to county election officials within six days after the election to ensure their ballot will count. Instead, they might be required to submit a signed declaration to the county.
Last week, Simpson heard testimony about the state's ongoing efforts to remove bureaucratic barriers for people to get a valid photo ID. He also heard about long lines and ill-informed clerks at driver's license centers and identification requirements that made it harder for some registered voters to get a state-issued photo ID.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/7-10/14)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Nite | to the tune of @cnn 😞
1 of 25
2. Got so much work to do but I just wanna stay in bed and binge watch #Gameofthrones and start the new season of #OnceUponATime. I know I can't be the only one. Right? Ha 💤🦁🍂 #saturday
2 of 25
3. Mommy's weekend turn up ❤️👶🏾💕🍼 Wouldn't trade it for nothing. #TeamNoSleep lol #HesMyBiggestBlessing ✨
3 of 25
4. One of them oh shit mont we made it feelings … this shit still be unreal 💯💪🏾 @remyboymonty1738
4 of 25
5. Tickets Available October 14 @ticketmaster.
5 of 25
6. People magazine Home edition has raided my house! Get a sneak peek into the bedroom life of the Leakes and see other parts of my home now at PEOPLE.COM
6 of 25
7. They want to kick you when you down, but kick it when you up
7 of 25
8. Got my advance copy of #Mafia3 at @gamestop. Get yours via link in the bio #Mafia3 #Ad
8 of 25
9. This is some of the cast and our diverse team of writers in the writer's room creating funny sh*t for @nbcmarlon what a fun room! Lots of jokes, great stories and having a great time doing what we love... making people laugh and feel something. Look out for our show next year @nbcmarlon we bringing sitcoms back to NBC
9 of 25
10. #HappySunday☀️Thank you @4everbrandy101 💛💡💛
10 of 25
11. Happy to be back in Central Falls, RI breaking ground for the One Stop Health Center and hosting a local community event with #Vaseline.
11 of 25
12. Thank you all in advance 💋💋💋 #Repost @urbansvintage・・・#TarajiPHenson's memoir #AroundTheWayGirl will be available everywhere TODAY October 11th! Will you be purchasing a copy? #UrbansVintage
12 of 25
13. Moms got my back
13 of 25
14. @galore dinner party glo ✨ thanks to @styledbygiigii
14 of 25
15. 🌹#ThisIsWhatTheTruthFeelsLikeTOUR #forevereve
15 of 25
16. Yes, all those videos I've been posting have led to this: the introduction of skincare to @TYRABeauty! This is the rundown on the new line:Years of research and beauty tips I live by led me to produce the most effective and delightful skincare out there. I'm all about taking really good care of my skin, so I can look like I'm aging in #TyraYears and go filter free on Instagram when I feel like it! Now, it's your turn. ✨My Mama always told me not to wash my face with just my hands. "Tyra, girl, you're just moving the dirt around!" And I've listened. First up is The Clean Machine.... ...a 3-in-1 foaming face wash that cleanses, removes makeup and purified your skin. It has patented technology - a attached Turbo Cleansing Tool - to give you that deep clean that makes your skin feel super fresh. Wanna know more? Yeah, baby. Click that link in my bio.
16 of 25
17. On set of #beingmaryjane like... ❤️😬💃🏾
17 of 25
18. #carouselofhope@yvetteshelton100@makeupbylatrice @thestacetheface@marialuciahohan24
18 of 25
19. I refuse to let a little cold stop me from my daily routines to greatness. #onlythestrongsurvive #warriors
19 of 25
20. Big things begin with big THINKING... #BusinessEthics #SetLife 🎥
20 of 25
21. Goodnight - here's a song
21 of 25
22. Words can't explain the feeling that I have right now.....God is good. look momma I made it. #Harts #Blessed #WhatNow #comedicrockstarshit #4DaysAway
22 of 25
23. I tried to get a better video with out the nasty bib but she started getting mad at me..lol! Big cuz @the_queen_caitlin trying to show her what to do. #MamasToots #HeirBear👑💜
23 of 25
24. Gorgeous Serena joined Beyoncé in Formation last night on stage in New Jersey!!!
24 of 25
25. 😜 @lifeofdesiigner & @rockohill
25 of 25