Once again, the courts have weighed in on Pennsylvania's controversial new voter ID law.

If you're now completely confused, you probably have good company.

And that's just fine with some of the folks behind what's been criticized as a shameless attempt to dampen Democratic voter turnout.

NBC News quoted state Republican Party Chairman Rob Gleason last month saying it wouldn't matter how the courts ruled; the effect on voter ID will be the same.

"Enough has been said; everybody's heard about it," he said. "No matter what they (the courts) decide now, people think you've got to have it."

Except that you don't. Not for the upcoming election.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson Tuesday sided with plaintiffs who argued the law would disenfranchise voters on Election Day, and granted a temporary injunction preventing it from taking effect this year.

It was the latest ruling in a court battle that began last summer before Simpson, was appealed to the state Supreme Court and sent back to Commonwealth Court with instructions to take a more skeptical look.

In his Tuesday ruling, Simpson, who had earlier estimated around 1 percent of eligible voters were at risk, wrote he had expected the state by now to have gotten more of the necessary photo IDs into voters' hands.


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"Consequently, I am still not convinced in my 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," he wrote.

What the judge did not do was strike down the law. The injunction is only for this election. In fact, he wrote in his opinion that he expects a request for a permanent injunction and will begin planning for a later trial.

It is possible the state could still appeal Simpson's temporary injunction back to the Supreme Court, but it seems unlikely the high court would hear the appeal, considering the election is just about a month away.

So here is what you need to know as of now:

---If you're eligible to vote but don't have the necessary identification, don't be discouraged and don't stay home. Your vote will count, even without it.

---Simpson's ruling does not prevent poll workers from asking for a photo ID, and the state could, in fact, direct them to make such a request, as it did during the law's "trial run" for the May primary.

But that's it. They can't prevent you from voting if you're unable to produce a valid ID.

---Tell them you don't have it and ask for your ballot -- a regular ballot, not a provisional one that would only be counted after you returned days later with the proper identification.

---Keep in mind, poll workers are volunteers who might be just as confused about this law as the state GOP's Gleason expects. If they attempt to deny you your right to vote, ask to speak to your precinct's judge of election.

---If by chance that person is also unclear about the law, ask him or her to call the York County Office of Elections/Voter Registration. Office Director Nikki Suchanic stressed that any dispute must be resolved on Election Day, so it's important that you don't wait.

A lot of effort went into tilting this election. All it takes is a little knowledge and persistence to keep it level.