Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Could Block Nearly 10 Percent of State’s Voters

Pennsylvania officials released new data that claim as many as 750,000 voters in the crucial battleground territory could be impacted by a new voter ID law.

The law, passed May and signed by Gov. Tom Corbett (R) to prevent voter fraud, obliges voters in Pennsylvania to show a valid photo ID at the polls. Photo: Henrique Pinto/Flickr

Despite that the law may seem a simple measure to combat voter fraud, data released this week show that the move may block from voting more than 750,000 Pennsylvanians who don’t currently have identification cards issued by the state Department of Transportation.

Comparing voter registration rolls with transportation department ID databases, it was estimated that more than 758,000 registered voters in the state don’t have driver’s license, the most common form of photo ID in the state.

The Corbett administration had earlier announced that 99 percent of Pennsylvanians already had necessary identification, and therefore wouldn’t need to take additional steps to cast their ballots, writes The Huffington Post.

The new law also allows another other forms of identification, such as U.S. passports, student ID cards with expiration dates and military ID. Because of that, state officials have shown little concern over the latest numbers.

“This thorough comparison of databases confirms that most Pennsylvanians have acceptable photo ID for voting this November,” Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele said in a news release.

“This comparison takes into account only voters with PennDot IDs, and does not include voters who may have any of the other various acceptable forms of ID.”

A voter can be characterized as an “inactive” in case he or she has not voted in five years and has not responded to a state inquiry about his or her current address, explains CBS News.

According to federal and state law, an “inactive voter” must be kept on the state registration list until he or she fails to vote in two consecutive general elections for federal office following the notification.

“Even though many voters identified in this comparison as not having PennDOT IDs are ‘inactive voters’, most of whom have not voted since 2007, we will err on the side of caution and include them in this mailing,” said Aichele in a statement released alongside the study.

In the last few weeks the ID voter law was thoroughly examined after Republican Mike Turzai, Pennsylvania’s House Majority Leader, suggested during a June Republican State Committee meeting that the controversial legislation aimed to benefit Mitt Romney’s electoral prospects this November.

“We are focused on making sure that we meet our obligations that we’ve talked about for years,” Turzai said in June.

“Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

The remarks had cause severe criticism from Pennsylvania Democrats, who decried it as “an admission that Republican legislators were attempting to disenfranchise Democratic voters”.

The Pennsylvania Department of State, vice versa, assures that the voter ID law was eleborated to deter people from voting illegally.

“We are committed to helping any eligible voter who does not have an acceptable ID get one to be able to vote in November,” Aichele said.

“We are continuing our outreach to get the word to voters about this law. The goal of this law is to allow every legal voter to cast a ballot, but detect and deter anyone attempting to vote illegally.”

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