News : philly.comby Amy Worde, mobile.philly.com
August 3rd 2012 5:58 AM
Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - In closing arguments in the closely watched hearing on the fate of Pennsylvania's controversial voter identification law, a lawyer for the law's opponents said as many as one million people may be prevented from casting ballots in November.
Commonwealth attorney Patrick Cawley, however, countered that "the vast majority of voters will have no problem" as a result of the act, which its backers say is meant to prevent fraud. "We would like to try to err on the side of protecting voters," he said.
The arguments wrapped up a seven-day hearing in Commonwealth Court in which a number of interest groups seek an injunction to stop the five-month-old voter ID law from taking effect. They contend it creates an unnecessary barrier to voting and is designed reduce turnout among poor and minorities, two largely Democratic constituent groups. Proponents of the law, passed by the Republican-controlled legislature, contend it is needed to prevent fraud.
Judge Robert E. Simpson said he would issue his ruling the week of Aug. 13. Both sides have said they will appeal to the state Supreme Court if they lose.
On May 1, the American Civil Liberties Union, along with voter and civil rights groups, sued on behalf of a group of petitioners who said they would not be able to vote because they faced impediments to getting an ID.
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