"It's great news - good for the voters and good for election administrators," said Philadelphia City Commissioner Stephanie Singer, one of the three officials responsible for the city's elections. "It makes a ton of sense and takes away the uncertainty for the primary election."
Republican majorities in the state House and Senate pushed the law through the legislature last March and it was signed by Gov. Corbett. It would require registered voters to show a specified form of government-issued photo ID to vote on machines.
Those without valid photo ID would be allowed to vote on provisional paper ballots and get six days to convince county election officials that their votes should be counted.
Opponents contend the law could disenfranchise thousands of voters, mostly elderly or poor, who do not drive and had no prior need for a photo ID card.
Simpson has scheduled hearings to begin July 15 on opponents' request for a permanent injunction against the law. That would allow time for him to issue a decision that could be reviewed by the state Supreme Court before the general election in November.
The agreement announced Thursday would obviate the need for separate hearings on a preliminary injunction - and allow election officials throughout the state to immediately tell poll workers what rules will apply in the May primary.
"The judge asked the parties to try to work something out, and we were able to work something out," said Jennifer Clarke, executive director of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, one of the entities fighting the law.
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