Supporters of ID laws disputed estimates that hundreds of thousands of prospective voters were without photo identification and played down the burden of obtaining acceptable identification. They argued that the US Supreme Court upheld a voter ID law in Indiana in 2008, establishing that such measures do not violate US constitutional protections.
In Pennsylvania, a Republican judge determined that the commonwealth’s new ID law did not violate the Pennsylvania constitution, but he also ruled that there was not enough time left before the election for the state to issue identification cards to those residents lacking them. The judge ruled that election officials could ask for photo ID at the polls, but that any voter failing to provide it must be given a chance to cast a regular ballot anyway.
In Wisconsin, two Democratic judges ruled that the voter ID law in that state violated the Wisconsin constitution. Both issued injunctions permanently blocking enforcement of the law. State officials sought an expedited appeal to the state Supreme Court, but the request was denied. Appeals are pending.
Officials in Texas and South Carolina defended their ID laws by arguing that they were patterned on the Indiana statute upheld by the US Supreme Court.
But because both of those states are listed as covered jurisdictions under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) – because of a past history of racial discrimination in voting – they were required to submit their voter ID laws to Washington for preapproval.