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In a letter Monday, the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department announced its probe of Pennsylvania's voter-ID law, requesting data to help "evaluate Pennsylvania's compliance with Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting-rights laws."

Under the leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder, who memorably compared the voter-id measures sweeping the nation to poll taxes, the Justice Department has looked into laws in several states, and federal lawsuits are pending in South Carolina and Texas.

The Justice Department isn't the only group with its eye on Pennsylvania's controversial law, which critics say disenfranchises black voters. From

An unrelated lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups, challenging the new voting requirements as a violation of the state constitution, is scheduled for hearings Wednesday in Harrisburg before Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson.

His decision, expected by mid-August, may be appealed to the state Supreme Court, now divided 3-3 between justices elected as Republicans and Democrats.



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Lauren is a former Deputy Editor of The Root.