-By Karen Langley
May 1, 2012- HARRISBURG — The debate over Pennsylvania's new voter ID law is heading from the state House to the courthouse.
Groups opposed to requiring photo identification at the polls plan to file a lawsuit today in Commonwealth Court seeking to prevent the law from taking full effect at the November elections. The lawsuit will name about 10 people who lack the documents needed to obtain an acceptable form of identification, said three attorneys involved in the suit.
While voters were asked for photo identification at the primary elections last week, they were allowed to vote without it. Starting in November, they will have to show a photo ID issued by the state or federal government or a Pennsylvania college, nursing home or county or municipal employer.
The suit will ask for an injunction against the law while the case is being decided as well as a final ruling that the law is unconstitutional, said Jennifer Clarke, executive director of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, one of the groups organizing the lawsuit.
David Gersch, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said the state cannot justify the new ID requirements without demonstrating that voter fraud is taking place.
"In order to take away somebody's right to vote, there needs to be a real problem they're addressing," he said. "The state hasn't shown that there's a problem with people showing up at the polling place and saying they're somebody who they're not."
Supporters of the voter ID law, including Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele, have described it as a common-sense effort to protect the integrity of the voting process.