[JURIST] A coalition of civil rights groups filed a lawsuit [petition for review, PDF] Tuesday challenging Pennsylvania's new voter ID law [HB 934 materials]. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and the Advancement Project [advocacy websites] filed suit along with the Washington, DC law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP [firm website] in Pennsylvania state court on behalf of voters who lack valid photo ID. According to the lawsuit:
The right affected by the Photo ID Law is fundamental. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has recognized that "[n]o right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live. Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined." ... Unless the Court acts to block the enforcement of the new photo ID requirement, many of Pennsylvania's good citizens will have this most precious right unduly burdened and, in many cases, effectively denied.The plaintiffs claim that obtaining a photo ID is impossible for many of them. The law is set to go into effect before the November elections.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett [official website] signed the bill into law [JURIST report] in March, making Pennsylvania one of 32 US states [NCSL backgrounder] that require voters to present some form of ID at the polls. Last week a Wisconsin appeals court refused to rule on an injunction [JURIST report] currently blocking that state's voter ID law. In February the Virginia Senate approved a voter ID law [JURIST report]. Also in February South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson filed suit against the US Department of Justice (DOJ) over its ruling that barred South Carolina [JURIST reports] from enforcing its voter ID law. In November Mississippi voters approved a ballot measure [JURIST report] to implement a voter ID law. In June Missouri Governor Jay Nixon [official website] vetoed [JURIST report] a law requiring persons to present photo ID at voting booth.