As the political war across the country over voter-ID laws rages, one crucial battle began today in the swing state of Pennsylvania. A state court will decide whether tough new rules disenfranchise low-income voters. The trial will likely last seven days, but the outcome will probably not be the final word. Even the judge himself says, "I am really a weigh station to the Supreme Court," reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Voter-ID laws have been passed in dozens of states over the past two years, ostensibly to combat voter fraud. Opponents say the real motive is for Republican legislatures to discourage many poor and elderly voters, who are likely to vote Democratic but who do not have the financial ability to meet the new requirements. Legal challenges are being argued in courts in various states ahead of the 2012 election, and the Washington Post notes that state courts have proven more helpful to the anti-voter-ID cause (such as in Missouri and Wisconsin) than federal courts, the traditional setting for civil rights issues.