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Pennsylvania Reaches Voter ID Accord With ACLU for May Election

Pennsylvania and the American Civil Liberties Union agreed to a compromise on voter identification for May elections before a trial still set for July on the merits of the state’s law.

Voters will be able to cast ballots without photo ID in the May 21 primary and any special elections before that date under the temporary accord, the ACLU said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. The agreement extends an October ruling by Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson that barred enforcement for the presidential election.

“In-person voters will again be asked for ID but will not be required to show it,” the ACLU said in the statement.

Pennsylvania is one of nine states that passed laws ahead of the November election requiring each voter to show a state-issued ID before casting a ballot. Enacted in March 2012 and backed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, a Republican, the law requires prospective voters to present a state-issued ID, or an acceptable alternative such as a military ID.

The state’s photo ID requirement could have excluded as many as 759,000 eligible voters, or about 9 percent of the state’s electorate, from the recent election, according to an analysis conducted last year by the Pennsylvania Department of State.

A trial in the case is scheduled to begin July 15 with a decision by mid-August.

The case is Applewhite v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 330-md-2012, Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg).

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