The Obama campaign today welcomed as "great news" a Pennsylvania judge's decision to block the state's new voter identification law, ordering that it not be enforced until after the presidential election.
"This decision makes one thing clear for the people there: if you're eligible to vote, you'll be able to vote on Election Day," Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters today. "We believe that the right to vote is an American value."
Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson ruled that voters in Pennsylvania will not have to produce a photo ID to vote in the upcoming presidential election, on the basis that he expected more IDs to be issued to voters who need them in time for the next election.
Voter IDs have become a hotly contested issue this election cycle, especially in the key state of Pennsylvania, one of 10 states that have passed ID laws in the past two years. Republicans passed the law without Democratic support, arguing it would protect the integrity of the electoral process. Opponents claim it would disproportionately prevent racial minorities and seniors from voting.
"I am not still convinced," Judge Simpson wrote in his opinion, "that there will be no voter disenfranchisement arising out of the Commonwealth's implementation of a voter identification requirement for purposes of the upcoming election."
Simpson said election officials could still ask voters for ID cards, but could not turn away those who do not have them.
"We're encouraged by it," Psaki said. "As we've done in many other states, we'll be focused on making sure people in Pennsylvania are educated on how they can vote, when they can vote and how to participate in the process."