A state judge on Friday struck down a nearly two-year-old requirement that almost all of Pennsylvania’s 8.2 million voters show photo identification before voting, setting the stage for a showdown before the state’s highest court.
Judge Bernard L. McGinley of Commonwealth Court, a Democrat, said that the law would unreasonably burden people trying to exercise their fundamental right to vote, and that the state had been unable to convincingly explain why it was necessary.
“Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election; the Voter ID Law does not further this goal,” Judge McGinley wrote in his 103-page ruling.
The law, one of the strictest in the nation, was signed by Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, in March 2012 over the protests of Democratic lawmakers in state Republican-controlled Legislature.
Enforcement of the law has been blocked by court order pending resolution of the legal challenge. Both sides had vowed to appeal any decision against them to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
A spokesman for Mr. Corbett did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Witold J. Walczak, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which helped lead the legal challenge, said “the act was plainly revealed to be nothing more than a voter suppression tool.”
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