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Pennsylvania Says Photo-ID Law Won’t Hurt Voter Rights

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Sept. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Pennsylvania’s requirement that voters present photo identification before casting a ballot won’t deprive citizens of any rights, state lawyers told the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in a filing.

The statute only tightens voter identification requirements to “increase public confidence that only legally registered voters are voting,” wrote Alfred Putnam Jr., an attorney for Governor Thomas W. Corbett.

The voters who sued to block the law in state court mischaracterized the issue by calling it “an assault on the fundamental constitutional right to vote,” Putnam said.

The voting rights of as many as 1 million people could be compromised by the photo-ID law, according to the lawsuit.

Arguments before the Supreme Court are scheduled for Sept. 13 in Philadelphia.

In an earlier brief, David Gersch, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union and 10 voters, said that the state’s high court “has previously held that depriving even one person of the right to vote is an ‘extremely serious matter.’”

Gersch is asking to have the statute thrown out before the Nov. 6 election.

A lower-court judge denied the ACLU’s request to temporarily bar the law and the state Supreme Court agreed to expedite the case.

The case is Applewhite v. Pennsylvania, 71 MAP 2012, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Milford in Wilmington, Delaware, at pmilford@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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