Eyes will be watching Pennsylvania as a trial starts Monday to determine if a 2012 voter identification law is constitutional. The law requires all voters to show a certain form of photo ID before they vote.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Public Interest Center of Philadelphia, and a Washington law firm will argue against the law and The Pennsylvania Department of State (DOS), Office of General Counsel, and a Philadelphia law firm will argue for the law. Democrat Judge Bernard McGinley will preside over the case.
The trial could take weeks to decide and nine days are set aside for it. A Commonwealth Court panel will review the verdict before the losing side appeals to the state Supreme Court.
The Republican legislature passed the law and Governor Tom Corbett signed it in March 2012. A lawsuit was filed in May and after a hearing in July, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson (R) refused to issue an injunction. The state Supreme Court reviewed the case and sent it back to Simpson with restrictions. Finally, Simpson said pollsters could ask voters for an ID, but could not stop anyone from voting if they did not provide one.
Opponents claim the GOP wants to strip young adults, minorities, the elderly, poor, and disabled from voting. The GOP claimed the law would stop voter fraud. The DOS does provide a special photo ID that is available free to those who do not have other options.