Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson will allow a controversial voter identification law to go into effect in Pennsylvania for November's presidential election.
The Pennsylvania judge refused to grant an injunction Wednesday against a measure that requires every voter to supply a valid photo ID.
The Republican-penned law, which passed over the objections of Democrats, has ignited a healthy debate over voting rights in a state that will play a key role in deciding the next president of the United States.
Critics have claimed the law will suppress votes among Obama supporters and make it harder for the elderly, minorities, and the poor to vote.
"We're not done, it's not over," said Witold J. Walczak, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who helped argue the case for the plaintiffs. "It's why they make appeals courts."
Republicans defend the law as necessary to protect the integrity of the election.
Simpson, a Republican, didn't rule on the full merits of the case, only whether to grant a preliminary injunction stopping it from taking effect.
In his 70-page opinion, Simpson said the law is neutral, nondiscriminatory and applies uniformly to all voters.
Speculation about the potential problems in issuing valid photo IDs or confusion on Election Day did not warrant "invalidation of all lawful applications" of it, he wrote.
Opponents are expected to file an appeal within a day or two to the state Supreme Court before election day, Nov. 6.