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Court upholds Indiana voter ID law

The Supreme Court today upheld an Indiana law requiring voters to present photo identification in order to vote in elections – a rule that faced constitutional scrutiny by the Court by challengers who said the law would keep poor, older and minority voters from the polls.

The 6-3 plurality opinion in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board was authored by Justice John Paul Stevens.

“The severity of [voters' burden by the rule] is, of course, mitigated by the fact that, if eligible, voters without photo identification may cast provisional ballots that will ultimately be counted,” Stevens wrote. Even though they would have to travel potentially long distances to the circuit court clerk’s office do so, Stevens wrote, “it is unlikely that such a requirement would pose a constitutional problem unless it is wholly unjustified. And even assuming that the burden may not be justified as to a few voters, that conclusion is by no means sufficient to establish petitioners’ right to the relief they seek in this litigation.”

Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. and Justice Anthony Kennedy joined Stevens’ opinion, while Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito concurred.

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