"However, a new prediction from the lower court will have no more legal significance before this court than the existing one, and I predict that, once again, we will be presented with a record that establishes that many thousands indeed, ultimately uncountable numbers of otherwise qualified electors will lack a photo ID for purposes of the upcoming election, and hence will be disenfranchised, despite the commonwealth's last ditch efforts to loosen the standards established by Act 18."
The majority opinion instructed the Commonwealth Court to assess whether the current procedures for issuing ID cards satisfies the law's "requirement of liberal access" to IDs for voting. "If they do not, or if the Commonwealth Court is not still convinced in its predictive judgment that there will be no voter disenfranchisement arising out of the commonwealth's implementation of a voter identification requirement for purposes of the upcoming election, that court is obliged to enter a preliminary injunction," according to the order.
The Department of State sees the opinion as asking the Commonwealth Court to affirm its earlier finding, that a preliminary injunction isn't necessary because the law won't result in significant disenfranchisement, Ruman said.
However, David Gersch of the Washington, D.C., firm of Arnold & Porter, who argued on behalf of the plaintiffs in front of the Supreme Court, said that since the legal standard will be higher on remand, the state will likely fail to meet it.
"It's a very tough standard," he said during the telephone press conference with Walczak, explaining that Simpson will have to determine that no voters will be disenfranchised as a result of the law.
Governor Tom Corbett, in a statement released Tuesday evening, pronounced himself pleased with much of the court's opinion.
"I am pleased that the state Supreme Court recognized that we have been working hard, and in good faith, to implement the voter ID law," Corbett said. "My administration will continue to work hard to ensure that Pennsylvania voters know about this new law and help them obtain the proper identification to vote on Election Day."