Key points in judge's ruling

On April 24 , a man shows his ID at a church in Cornwall, Lebanon County, for the primary election. That primary was a test run for Pennsylvania's voter-ID law.
On April 24 , a man shows his ID at a church in Cornwall, Lebanon County, for the primary election. That primary was a test run for Pennsylvania's voter-ID law. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Posted: August 17, 2012

KEY FINDINGS BY Commonwealth Judge Robert Simpson in his rejection of a legal challenge to the state's new voter-ID law:

* Any voter rejected for lack of an ID can still cast a provisional ballot, produce an approved ID within six days and have the vote counted.

*  The voter-ID law "contains no references to any class or group. Rather, its provisions are neutral and nondiscriminatory and apply uniformly to all voters."

* Gov. Corbett and the Department of State initially said about 1 percent of voters did not have an approved state ID. That number was later estimated at closer to 9 percent. Simpson guesses the number is "somewhat more than 1 percent and significantly less than 9 percent," based on testimony of the Department of State's director of policy.

* The voter-ID law "will be implemented by Commonwealth agencies in a non-partisan, even-handed manner."

*  A Department of State plan for special identification for voting, still being developed, will prevent voters from being disenfranchised.

* Also a factor: the "alarm, concern and anxiety" shown by the state's commissioner of the Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation at the impact a preliminary injunction blocking the voter-ID law would have on preparations for the Nov. 6 general election. "His demeanor tells the story."

* While noting that the Department of State acknowledged having no proof of in-person voter fraud here, "Nevertheless . . . the United States Supreme Court upheld a nearly identical Indiana voter-ID law despite the absence of any evidence of in-person voter fraud occurring in that state."

*  The judge denounced "disturbing, tendentious statements by House Majority Leader Michael Turzai to a Republican Party gathering," but ruled that a legislator's partisan interest in voting for a law does not make that law discriminatory. Turzai in June said the law would help former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney defeat President Obama.

"Factually, I decline to infer that other members of the General Assembly shared the boastful views of Rep. Turzai without proof that other members were present at the time the statements were made," Simpson wrote.

- Chris Brennan

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