Voter ID: Applewhite v. Commonwealth


Petitioners Request Preliminary Injunction Extend through Appeal

On Monday, August 5th, 2013, the petitioners filed a post-trial brief with the court requesting extension of the preliminary injunction of Pennsylvania’s strict voter ID law.

In this brief, the petitioners request that the preliminary injunction be extended by the court until a final decision has been made, as opposed to requesting an extension for each subsequent election as it arises. During closing arguments last week attorneys for the state indicated they would agree to extend the preliminary injunction through the November 2013 elections.

The petitioners have also requested that the state no longer be allowed to use “soft rollouts” in which voters are, “asked but not required,” to present valid photo identification during an election. This practice has already disenfranchised some voters. Some poll workers have mistakenly told voters that identification is, or will be, required and the state’s communications campaign has run confusing ads that have done little to offer clarity to voters.

During the summer 2013 trial in Commonwealth Court, Judge McGinley heard from a witness named Marian Baker who was disenfranchised by the soft rollout. During the November 2012 election she was told by a poll worker that identification would be required when she went to vote in the May 2013 primaries. Ms. Baker attempted to obtain valid identification from PennDOT before the May primaries but met multiple obstacles. Without proper identification in hand, she decided not to vote in the primaries the next spring even though the injunction had actually been extended.

Click here to read the full post-trial brief. Judge McGinley is set to make a ruling on the preliminary injunction issue by August 19, 2013.

Click here to read the state’s Brief in Opposition to Petitioners’ Application for a Preliminary Injunction.