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Pa. Commonwealth Court Affirms Its Decision Overturning Voter ID Law

By Cherri Gregg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) -- Commonwealth Court has refused to revisit its decision striking down Pennsylvania's controversial voter ID law.

That means the law requiring voters to show ID cards is dead unless the Pennsylvania Supreme Court steps in.

In a 29-page ruling, Commonwealth Court judge Bernard McGinley wrote that the voter ID law failed to provide voters "liberal access" to valid forms of photo ID cards.  He wrote that the law therefore potentially deprives thousands of voters of their fundamental right to cast a ballot, and so the ruling rendering the law unconstitutional must stand.

"We were excited but not particularly surprised," says Vic Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania, which represented plaintiffs in the case.  He says the ball is now in the court of the Corbett administration, which has 29 more days to file an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

"(The judge) also entered a permanent injunction, which means the voter ID law cannot be enforced unless and until the (state) Supreme Court takes some kind of action," Walczak says.

The Rupublican-backed voter ID law passed in March 2012, ostensibly to prevent election day voter fraud at the polls.  At trial, the state admitted there has been no evidence of such voter fraud in Pennsylvania.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has spent millions in state and federal funds educating voters on the new law since it passed.

Joshua Maus, spokesman for the Governor's Office of General Council says they are "currently reviewing the opinion." He declined to comment on whether the administration plans to appeal.


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