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Pennsylvania judge rejects request for fast ruling on voter ID law ads

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania judge on Friday rejected a push by civil libertarians to issue a ruling this week in a battle over advertisements publicizing a new voter identification law in the state.

Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson said that he would stick with an October 30 deadline requiring the state respond to the American Civil Liberties Union's complaint that the advertisements are misleading.

"The response time is reasonable under the circumstances," wrote Simpson, an elected judge who earlier this month issued a temporary injunction preventing the voter identification law from being used for the November 6 election.

The ACLU wanted Simpson, a Republican, to rule this week on an advertising campaign that was rolled out to publicize the law and which continues to run in amended form on buses and on posters across the state.

It says the current ads are misleading because they continue to carry the original slogan "Show It" with the tagline "if you have it" in small print.

The ACLU challenged the voter ID law, arguing that it discriminates against minorities, who often favor Democratic candidates. Supporters of the law, which was passed in March by the state's Republican-led legislature without a single Democratic vote, said it would prevent voter fraud.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Paul Simao)

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