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Gov. Corbett says he won’t fight in court for Pennsylvania’s voter ID requirement


Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) (Photo: Associated Press)

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) said on Thursday that he won’t fight for the state’s voter identification law—at least not in court.

Corbett said he would not appeal the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s ruling overturning a requirement that residents present photo ID when voting. But, he added, the requirement is “a sensible and reasonable measure,” one which he plans to work with the legislature to fix and reinstate.

“Based upon the court’s opinion, it is clear that the requirement of photo identification is constitutionally permissible,” he said in a statement. “However, the court also made clear that in order for a voter identification law to be found constitutional, changes must be made to address accessibility to photo identifications.”

Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey (D) praised the decision to abandon an appeal, arguing that the push for such a requirement should be abandoned altogether.

“Voter ID cannot be retooled or tweaked in a way that would make it fair to those who would be denied access to the ballot,” Casey said in a statement. “Voter ID is a scheme whose very premise is flawed.”

Last week, a U.S. district judge struck down a similar provision in Wisconsin, arguing that it discriminates against minorities who are disproportionately more likely to live in poverty and therefore incur costs related to obtaining IDs.

All told, eight states have strict photo ID requirements, defined as those that require voters to take extra steps for their ballots to be counted if they fail to produce valid ID on election day. Eight states have non-strict photo ID requirements, meaning at least some voters without photo ID can cast ballots that will be counted on Election Day.

(National Conference of State Legislatures)
(National Conference of State Legislatures)
Niraj Chokshi is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.

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