By Saranac Hale Spencer
Of the Legal Staff
Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson this morning declined to hasten the pace for deciding on a motion filed by challengers to Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law asking him to enforce the injunction he issued earlier this month keeping the law from taking effect this November.
The challengers, led by the American Civil Liberties Union, filed a petition late last week requesting that the court enforce the order because the state hasn’t amended the advertising campaign it began earlier this year to reflect the change to the law’s implementation.
The petition asks Simpson to order the state to send corrective literature to voters who have gotten mailings indicating 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.
Simpson asked the state to respond by October 30 and the challengers quickly followed that order by filing a motion to speed up the time frame. Because October 30 is only a week before the election, they argued, if the court were to grant the motion to enforce the injunction, there wouldn’t be enough time to correct what they contend are misleading advertisements indicating that voters will need to show a photo ID before casting a ballot.
“Petitioners’ petition for supplemental injunction to enforce court’s October 2, 2012, order implicates new legal issues,” Simpson said in a two-page order, explaining that he wanted to offer the state sufficient time to respond.
“I exercised my discretion to reduce respondents’ time to respond from the standard 30 days … to six days,” Simpson said.