The US Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a lower-court ruling that would have allowed residents of Alabama to vote by absentee ballot without providing a copy of a photo ID.
Alabama also requires the absentee ballot to be signed by two witnesses or notarized.
Last month, Obama-appointed judge Abdul Kallon waived the requirement for photo ID or that voters get their absentee ballots notarized.
Abdul Kallon also said Alabama could not forbid local officials from allowing ‘curbside’ voting during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Supreme Court blocked the Obama judge’s order in a 5-4 ruling.
A U.S. district court judge in Birmingham, Alabama’s largest city, issued a ruling in June that would have effectively freed voters from the photo I.D. requirement, in some counties, if they are 65 or older or have a disability. Under that ruling, voters with medical conditions that put them at risk of COVID-19 could sidestep the requirement to have their ballots signed by a witness.
The judge also would have blocked Alabama from restricting counties that wished to establish curbside voting.
But the Supreme Court blocked the district court ruling in a 5-4 decision along ideological lines at least until an appeals process is resolved.
The case deals with Alabama’s July 14 runoff election, which was postponed from March due to the pandemic and includes a Republican Senate primary between onetime U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former college football coach Tommy Tuberville.