(Reuters) - A Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday halted a controversial requirement that voters in the state provide photo identification at the polls for the November 6 general election, 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.
What it means:
- Voters can cast a regular ballot without state-issued identification.
- Election officials can still ask voters for identification, but it is not required to cast a ballot.
- The preliminary injunction will apply for the Nov. 6 election only. After the election, the parties will schedule a trial to discuss a permanent injunction.
- No one should be disenfranchised in November, which was the primary concern by opponents who feared the law would impact the presidential race.