A Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday halted for the November 6 U.S. general election a controversial requirement that voters in the state provide photo identification at the polls, a decision expected to influence Election Day turnout in the battleground state.
The ruling by Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson comes exactly five weeks before the presidential election and puts on hold the law requiring all voters to show either a state driver’s license, government employee ID or a state non-driver ID card in order to vote.
The law was passed earlier this year by the Republican-led legislature without a single Democratic lawmaker’s vote.
Supporters of the voter ID law say it is aimed at ensuring that only those legally eligible to vote cast ballots.
Critics say it is designed to keep minority voters, who typically vote Democratic, away from the polls.
The state of Pennsylvania has acknowledged that there has never been a case of in-person voter fraud, according to court testimony.
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) – (Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Dan Burns)