The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

State News

February 19, 2013

Counties hope to quell voting law confusion

HARRISBURG — Some county officials said Tuesday they will try to refresh voters’ understanding of Pennsylvania’s fractured election laws before the upcoming primary elections.

Although they do not anticipate major problems in the

May 21 balloting – especially given the typically small turnout for municipal and judicial elections – officials from counties across the state said it is important voters clearly understand the status of the new voter-identification law amid a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality set for trial in July.

Voter education efforts will focus on “what will be expected and what will not be expected,” said Frank Custer, Montgom­ery County communications director.

Enforcement of the most significant part of the new law – a requirement that voters show photo ID at the polls – will not be in effect for the primary under an agreement struck last week between the state and the plaintiffs who sued.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson, who ordered that the provision not be enforced in the fall presidential election, approved the latest agreement Tuesday.

Voters will be permitted to cast ballots in the primary even if they don’t have a valid photo ID, although a provision of the law that is not affected by the litigation requires poll workers to ask them for it anyway.

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