Tuesday's ruling by Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr. allows registered voters to cast ballots in the Nov. 6 election whether they have photo identification or not. They will be asked for photo ID at the polls, but the lack of same will not bar them from voting, the judge ruled.
The administration held open the possibility Wednesday night that it might appeal Simpson's ruling to the state Supreme Court. "I'm told there have been no decisions made," Corbett spokeswoman Janet Kelly said.
Ruman said the state would not have its new ads on the ID law produced until next week. The content has not yet been determined. "The ads will comply with the judge's order, but voters will still be asked for ID," he said. "The voter ID law is still in effect, and our belief is that it will be in effect in the future."
In his initial August ruling upholding the law, Simpson said he felt obliged to defer to the legislature's authority over the conduct of elections.
But the Supreme Court sent the case back to him, ordering Simpson to enjoin the law unless he was convinced that it would result in "no voter disenfranchisement."
In his ruling Tuesday, Simpson stood by his earlier estimate that at least 1 percent of the state's 8.3 million voters - at least 83,000 voters - likely did not have the photo identification the new law required.
While the state Department of Transportation reported increased issuance of driver's licenses and other photo IDs, and close to 11,000 new IDs specifically for voting, the judge said he had expected those numbers to be higher.
He concluded that "in the remaining five weeks before the general election, the gap between the photo IDs issued and the estimated need will not be closed."
In the wake of his ruling, Democratic legislators demanded Wednesday that the administration spend as much money alerting the public that the photo ID requirement has been suspended as it did to publicize the ID law.
"They have a hell of a lot more to do," said House Democratic leader Frank Dermody of Allegheny County. "They spent a lot of time and money trying to suppress the vote. They should do everything they can to make sure everyone who is eligible to vote will vote."
State Sen. Leanna Washington of Philadelphia wrote to Corbett seeking an accounting of $4.8 million earmarked for voter ID - $1 million in state funds, plus $3.8 million in federal aid provided under the Help America Vote Act.
"Aside from the widespread confusion," Washington said, "this law has become a money pit."
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