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Hullabaloo


Thursday, July 05, 2012

 
Almost 10% of Pennsylvania voters could be disenfranchised by new voter ID law

by David Atkins

I don't see how this can possibly be constitutional:

The impact of Pennsylvania’s new Voter-ID law could be much wider-reaching than the state’s Republican officials claimed when passing the bill, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

In fact, over 758,000 registered voters in Pennsylvania — representing 9.2 percent of the state’s 8.2 million registered voters — do not have photo identification cards from the state Transportation Department, based on a comparison between voter registration rolls and the Transportation Department database.

The problem is most acutely shown in Philadelphia, with 186,830 registered voters who do not have ID cards in the Transportation database, 18 percent of the city’s total registration.

Pennsylvania has tended to vote Democratic in presidential elections, having only voted Republican in landslide elections since the 1950’s. However, the results can sometimes be quite close, and the GOP has sought to win the state in cycle after cycle. It voted for Barack Obama by an 11-point margin in 2008 — a raw vote spread of about 620,000 votes, less than the new figure of potentially disenfranchised voters. Before that, it went for John Kerry by only 2.5 points in 2004, a spread of about 145,000 votes.

Recently, the state’s GOP House Majority Leader Mike Turzai boasted of the Voter-ID law as a Republican accomplishment that would have an effect in November, telling a party meeting: “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

The Supreme Court ruled that Indiana's voter ID law was constitutional, but similar attempts in Wisconsin and Texas have been blocked at least for now, with Texas challenging the Voting Rights Act itself.

But it's impossible to see how preventing almost 10% of the population from voting can be viewed as anything other than gross disenfranchisement.


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