Of the provisional ballot section of Act 18, Simpson said, "It's not the smoothest part of Act 18 by any stretch of the imagination." It's meant to accommodate people who have left their IDs at home, Simpson said. Using it to accommodate people who are unable to get IDs might stretch it to apply more broadly than it was intended, he said.
He asked both parties to file their suggestions for an injunction today.
When Pennsylvania's Supreme Court remanded the case to Simpson, who presided over this summer's trial, it said that he must give his decision by October 2, so that there will be time for high court review in advance of the general election, set for November 6.
On Tuesday, the first day of the hearing, Simpson said that he planned to issue his opinion as soon as possible.
"The sooner the better for everyone involved," Simpson said.
As lawyers for the ACLU, which brought the case along with other citizens' groups, and lawyers for the state government sparred over whether some late-coming witnesses for the petitioners should be allowed to testify, Simpson intervened.
"It's time for a pep talk to counsel," he said, noting that this is a high-profile case and emotions are naturally running high. He reminded them that they should stay calm and "stand tall."
"I'm concerned by the conduct of counsel here on both sides," Simpson said.
Ultimately, the petitioners were able to call half-a-dozen people who had encountered problems when they tried to get an ID either a secure photo identification card from PennDOT or a recently instituted photo ID card through the Department of State and almost as many witnesses who have been helping people get IDs that comply with the new law. Three of those witnesses were out-of-state employees of the Service Employees International Union, which has deployed workers to Pennsylvania in order to observe the process for issuing IDs at the state's 71 PennDOT locations, according to testimony.
The thrust of the petitioners' line of questioning illustrated that it is difficult and time-consuming for people to get IDs and that PennDOT employees are poorly informed about what is required to issue the cards, what types of cards are appropriate and available, and when they are supposed to charge a fee for issuing IDs.