But Michael Dimino, associate professor of law at Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg, Pa., said the state Supreme Court isn’t likely to rule on the case before the election.
“This decision makes it much more likely that the law will be in place for this November’s election,” Mr. Dimino said.
He added that the judge’s fact-finding in support of the law lessens the chance that the state’s high court will invalidate the measure.
“Commonwealth Court said it was unconvinced that anybody would be prevented from casting a vote because of this law,” Mr. Dimino said. “That makes it much more difficult to overturn this law.”
The Pennsylvania court relied in part on a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld a similar photo-ID law in Indiana. Judge Simpson said the Pennsylvania law’s photo-ID requirement is “reasonable … when viewed in the broader context of the widespread use of photo ID in daily life.”
“The Commonwealth’s asserted interest in protecting public confidence in elections is a relevant and legitimate state interest sufficiently weighty to justify the burden,” the judge wrote.
Judge Simpson said he thought that state officials and agencies are resolving problems with the law and that they would carry it out by November in a “nonpartisan, even-handed manner.”
The case now heads to the state Supreme Court, which is evenly divided with three Republicans and three Democrats. Opponents of the law would need four votes to prevail there. A seventh Supreme Court justice, Republican Joan Orie Melvin, was relieved of her duties in May because of criminal charges against her alleging that she used court staffers to work on her election campaigns.