Trial to open on lawfulness of Pennsylvania voter ID law

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A trial is under way in Pennsylvania on the constitutionality of a state voter identification law.

At issue is whether the photo requirement should be enforced at polling places statewide or thrown out as unconstitutional. The trial is being held in Harrisburg and nine days have been set aside to hear it.

The voter ID law would be one of the strictest in the nation if it is upheld, but it has never been enforced. The 2012 law was approved without any Democratic votes by the Legislature’s Republican majority and signed by GOP Gov. Tom Corbett.

Critics derided the law as a cynical GOP effort to discourage young adults, minorities, the elderly, poor and disabled from going to the polls. Republicans said most Pennsylvanians have driver’s licenses to use as photo ID and claim that the law would discourage voter fraud.

A key issue in the trial will be the availability of alternative photo identification for people who lack a driver’s license or other types of acceptable ID listed in the law.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.