[JURIST] Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett [official website] announced [press release] Thursday that the Office of General Counsel [official website] will not pursue an appeal in defense of the Commonwealth’s voter identification law. The law, passed in March 2012, required all voters to submit a government issued photo ID in order to vote in all elections. The law was immediately challenged on the grounds that it was in effect a poll tax as it created an undue burden for voters lacking documentation or transportation required to obtain a photo ID. Commonwealth Court Judge Bernarnd McGinley, while noting that the actual requirement was not unconstitutional, granted the injunction in January based on the theory the state lacked the requisite resources to eliminate undue burdens on the affected voters.
The law has was suspended [JURIST report] repeatedly after is passage, most recently in August for the then-upcoming November election. The case has previously been argued all the way up to the state Supreme Court, which ruled [JURIST report] in 2012 that the lower court had improperly upheld the law and remanded the case. As many as 32 states have enacted [JURIST backgrounder] some form of voter ID law in 2012, although recent litigation has nullified several of these laws. Most recently, voter ID Laws in Arkansas and Wisconsin were ruled unconstitutional by their respective state high courts, while laws in Tennessee were upheld [JURIST reports]. Many states, including Texas, are still litigating the issue [JURIST report].