By Saranac Hale Spencer
Special to the Legal
An order to the state to show cause from Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson today was quickly followed by a motion from the challengers to Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law to accelerate the timeline.
Simpson asked the state to respond by October 30 to the challengers’ October 19 petition to enforce his injunction issued earlier this month, which will keep the law from taking effect for the November 6 election.
Because October 30 is only a week before the election, if the court were to grant the motion to enforce the injunction, there wouldn’t be enough time to correct what challengers contend are misleading advertisements indicating that voters will need to show a photo ID before casting a ballot.
Earlier this month, Simpson enjoined the voter ID law from taking effect for the November election and the challengers to the law were optimistic that the state would change its advertising to alert the public.
However, the state hasn’t amended the advertising campaign that it began earlier this year to reflect the change to the law’s implementation, the petitioners, which include the American Civil Liberties Union, alleged in their October 19 petition.
The petition asks Simpson to order the state to send corrective literature to voters who have gotten mailings indicating that they will have to show ID to vote, immediately stop any advertising that tells voters they must have ID in November, and reword robo-calls to clearly state that an ID won’t be required for the upcoming election, among other things.
“This really is a situation where justice delayed is justice denied,” Witold “Vic” Walczak, legal director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania, said in a prepared statement. “Even a favorable ruling next week will be too late to undo the damage.”