Pennsylvania Judge Enjoins Voter ID Law; Challenge Led by Arnold & Porter and Others

October 3, 2012

Washington, D.C., October 2, 2012 -- A Pennsylvania judge today enjoined local election officials from requiring a photo ID to vote in the November election. 

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson wrote that he was unconvinced "there would be no voter disenfranchisement arising out of the Commonwealth's implementation" of the voter identification requirements in the controversial state law.  He opined that the "gap" between the mandated photo IDs and the state's "estimated" ability to overcome practical problems in ensuring the rights of all voters "will not be closed" in the few remaining weeks leading up to the upcoming elections.

As a result of Judge Simpson's ruling, Pennsylvania voters can still be asked to show a state-approved photo ID at the polls, but they can still vote if they don't do so. "The Court's ruling today means that people can vote in November without having a photo ID," said David Gersch, who led Arnold & Porter's legal team. Arnold & Porter brought this case along with the ACLU of Pennsylvania, the Public Interest Center of Philadelphia and the Advancement Project on behalf of individual voters, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania, the NAACP and the Homeless Advocacy Project.

In addition to David Gersch, the Arnold & Porter LLP legal team included Michael RubinDorian Hurley, Rosie SmithDana Peterson, Stanton Jones, Whitney Moore, Joseph Schlingbaum, Dan BernsteinRachel FrankelDawn Yamane HewettBassel Korkor, Marissa Styne, Susan Rabinowitz, Christine Lao, Cathy HoffmanJohn FreedmanDonna Patterson, Mark Colley and Kelby Ballena.

The internationally-watched case was widely covered by the media and included commentary by Gersch via a syndicated Bloomberg News story, as well as an interview with Rubin that was aired by China's CNC World.

The case is Applewhite v. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, ____ Pa. ____, No. 330 M.D. 2012 (Harrisburg).

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