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Judge says state can’t tally victims’ rights amendment votes

Mark Scolforo
Associated Press
FILE—In this June 13, 2019 file photo, an Investigator with the Office of the City Commissioners, demonstrates the ExpressVote XL voting machine at the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. Legislation heading toward a vote in Pennsylvania would overhaul some aspects of how voters cast ballots while delivering much of the money counties need to buy voting machines ahead of next year's presidential election. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

HARRISBURG – Votes in a referendum about enshrining victims’ rights in Pennsylvania’s constitution aren’t going to be tallied or certified while a legal challenge to the amendment is pending.

Commonwealth Court Judge Ellen Ceisler granted a preliminary injunction Wednesday that was requested by voters and the state League of Women Voters.

The amendment on Tuesday’s ballot would enshrine in the state constitution a set of rights for victims, including to be notified about, attend and weigh in during plea hearings, sentencings and parole proceedings.

Ceisler says she granted the injunction because the amendment would have immediate, profound and in some cases irreversible consequences for the rights of accused people and the criminal justice system.

The amendment is part of a national Marsy’s Law campaign for victims’ rights.