“Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election,” wrote Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard L. McGinley. “The Voter ID law does not further this goal.”
He said the law, which required Pennsylvanians to provide a state-approved photo ID to vote, made it significantly more difficult for elderly, disabled and low-income citizens to cast their ballots. The state's $5 million education plan was unhelpful and misinformative, and free IDs were difficult to obtain.
Additionally, McGinley said the law did not do what it set out to do: combat voter fraud.
“The right to vote, fundamental in Pennsylvania, is irreplaceable, necessitating its protection before any deprivation occurs,” he wrote.
The case is almost certain to head to the state Supreme Court, although Attorney General Kathleen Kane has not yet said if she intends to appeal.
The judge's ruling comes as members in both Houses of Congress work to restore parts of the Voting Rights Act that were struck down last summer by the Supreme Court.