Over 750,000 Pennsylvanians Could Be Disenfranchised By Voter ID Law


Written by Alex Brown

Instances of voter fraud may be rarer than lightning strikes, but in Pennsylvania more than 758,000 voters may be disenfranchised this election season because lawmakers insist on solving the “problem” of voter fraud. Pennslyvania’s new voter ID law, which will take effect for the first time this November, may prevent 758,939 otherwise eligible voters, who do not currently have an acceptable ID, from voting.

A comparison, carried out by state officials, of registered voters and PennDOT ID databases show that only 91 percent of Pennsylvania’s 8.2 million voters have an acceptable voter ID. In Philadelphia, where voters will be hardest hit by the new law, 18 percent of voters lack proper ID. State officials had previously estimated that 99 percent of voters had acceptable IDs:

“What’s truly scary about this report is that it makes my case,” Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said. “About 10 percent of otherwise eligible Pennsylvanians are disenfranchised by the Voter ID law. That’s not an acceptable number of people to tell that they can’t vote.” Disenfranchised groups, Wagner said, include older residents, students and the poor.

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing to overturn the law, and Allegheny County Democrats said in June they would file a Commonwealth Court challenge.

Voter ID laws shift the electorate to the right by disproportionately disenfranchising poor, minority and student voters. Indeed, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) openly admitted that this is their purpose last month when he claimed that Voter ID “is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”

Nor is Voter ID a lone effort to disenfranchise voters. Republican politicians also pushed limits on early voting and registration efforts, and voter purge efforts that disproportionately affect voters who are more likely to vote democratic. New voter restrictions are also more likely to disenfranchise older voters.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, more than 5 million Americans could be disenfranchised by new laws making it harder to vote. Of the 12 likely background states, five have cut back on voting rights, and, taken together, the states that have restricted voter rights make up 171, or 63 percent, of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidential election.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.


Photo: Kenn Wilson/flickr


Bill Reese
Bill Reese4 years ago

The only dumb thing going on here is that all parties are not on the same page to require proof of US Citizenship to vote. We require it for almost everything we do in this country even such minor things as food stamps or a Social Security Card, why not for voting to elect our president? If you are an immigrant you have spent several thousands of dollars to legally enter this country and obtain an adjustment of status. You will spend a few more dollars to gain the status of Citizen and you will be able to vote. No one is denied their legal right to vote if t hey are here legally, still alive, and want to vote. Anyone that is here legally just needs to ask their precint committee person for help in obtaining their picture ID, or if able stop by the local court house and get a picture ID to be used for voting. I do not hear anyone complaining about a young person getting Pi ture ID to buy alcohol if they do not have a drivers license.
Let us all get on the same page and require the ID and work to make sure all that are elgible are able to obtain one before the election. Just makes common sense.

Ira L.
Ellie L.4 years ago


David C.
David C.4 years ago


My post was truncated. To continue:

I could give other scenarios but your intransigence is boring. You belong squarely in the "no proof is possible" camp.

David C.
David C.4 years ago

"For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible." Look in the mirror Robert.

You seem to be quite incapable of looking outside yourself.

You also have comprehension problems. When I wrote (approximate wording) "some of the very wealthy care about the country, the others want to keep what they've got". You proceded to give me names from the first group and tell me I was painting with too broad a brush. You hadn't even read my entire sentence.

You write "I just don't know how it's possible to be certain or to make the claim that 750,000 voters are incapable of coming up with acceptable ID". Read the article especially the headline.

The facts are quite simple. 750,000 registered voters do not have drivers licenses. Source, state of PA. There is no suggestion that they cannot get a voter ID; it is suggested that it will be difficult for some (most?) to get a voter ID. For once in this exchange, use your brain. If they don't have a drivers license, they don't have a car. How will they get to the DMV for their card? I don't know if you live in a cave or just refuse to open your eyes. Do you have no friends who are elderly and/or infirm? How do you think they'd hold up waiting 4 hours for an ID card? This is the wait time in my state for new drivers licenses. Reasons for the excessive wait include budget/personnel cuts, the increased documentation required to get a drivers license.

I could give other sce

Robert Pavlick
Robert Pavlick4 years ago

LD B keeps saying "Where's your proof, where's your proof and then if you provide any, she will just fluff it off as having come from some Right Wing source anyway so it's pointless trying to say anything to people who have already made up their minds and aren't open to any other possibilities.

I just don't know how it's possible to be certain or to make the claim that 750,000 voters are incapable of coming up with acceptable ID. They'd come up with it fast if they won the lottery or were advised of an inheritance.

It's like the economist Stuart Chase said: "For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible."

Robert Pavlick
Robert Pavlick4 years ago

LD says: "Looks like Robert is evading being taken to task for his many false claims re. what constitutes a valid ID, "

No, LD, I am not evading anything. I am just thinking back to at least 3 times in my life when I either lost my wallet or was mugged and the nuisance it was replacing all of my credit cards and legal documents. But you know what? I did it, and I am no SUPERMAN. Yes, it was a pain, but it had to be done and so I did it. Others can do it too if it means anything to them. Elections only come every four years. That gives people plenty of time to get their affaris straight. Lame excuses are simply not acceptable.

Carole L.
Carole L.4 years ago

Robert P
“Because bleeding hearts like you would like to have serial killers be able to vote also. There has been much conversation claiming that prisoners have rights too and should be able to vote. No, prisoners gave up those rights when they decided to commit crimes against the very society that grants them those rights.”

Well, at least “We” have hearts. Felons are not allowed to vote whilst serving time for the crime committed.

Robert P
“Yes there are like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Larry Ellison, who are the top 3 richest Americans and they are all Democrats, so not all rich people are Republicans and not all are grubbing for more.”

And all three have come out publicly in support of raising taxes on the super rich.

Carole L.
Carole L.4 years ago

Robert P
“Carole asks: "So how about a man who doesn’t know “where his money is, what companies his money has been invested in,...?

First off, I do not approve of all of these PAC's and big money in elections, but that being said: if a person is so stupid that he doesn't know which PAC he gave his money too, then you are right, he shouldn't vote either.”

I was referring to Romney.

Robert P
“Carole also asks: "Are you suggesting they not be allowed to vote in elections? "

Of course not. If they are citizens and not currently incarcerated, they have a right to vote. I just wish that they knew the issues, knew who was running and could make an intelligent decision other than just voting to extend their own entitlements.”

I agree however, it has been proven however that low information voters tend vote predominantly Rep.

Robert P
“And yes, I do not that we are NOT a democracy but a Republic, but you get the point.”

US is more of a Democratic Republic, that is the beauty of US and why US is so powerful, We The People have found a way to balance Capitalism with Socialism… at least up until now since the corporations have commandeered our Democracy. US is not just 'one' way, One Colour, One Religion etc, it is many ways working together for the benefit of all.

Robert Pavlick
Robert Pavlick4 years ago

(continued)Several election officials said they believed the voter registration systems were secure enough to catch people who might improperly submit the misdirected documents.
But administrators in New Mexico, a potential swing state in the 2012 presidential race, warned that ineligible voters who complete the documents could make it onto the rolls.
New Mexico is one of two states in which noncitizens can qualify for a driver's license by simply proving residency - not necessarily legal residency - and state elections officials have no way of verifying the legal status of those who file registration documents.
Ken Ortiz, the chief of staff at the New Mexico secretary of state's office, said some noncitizens have contacted the state asking why they received the forms when they'd previously been told that they could not vote.
"We fear that some of these individuals who receive this mailing may feel that they are being encouraged to vote by our office or county government," Ortiz said.

Robert Pavlick
Robert Pavlick4 years ago

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - The voter registration form arrived in the mail last month with some key information already filled in: Rosie Charlston's name was complete, as was her Seattle address.
Problem is, Rosie was a black lab who died in 1998.
A group called the Voter Participation Center has touted the distribution of some 5 million registration forms in recent weeks, targeting Democratic-leaning voting blocs such as unmarried women, blacks, Latinos and young adults.
But residents and election administrators around the country also have reported a series of bizarre and questionable mailings addressed to animals, dead people, noncitizens and people already registered to vote.
Brenda Charlston wasn't the only person to get documents for her pet: A Virginia man said similar documents arrived for his dead dog, Mozart, while a woman in the state got forms for her cat, Scampers.