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

234 comments

Jeanne R
Jeanne R8 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R8 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R8 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R8 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R8 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Bill Reese
Bill Reese5 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.

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Ira L.
Ellie L5 years ago

OUTRAGEOUS! VOTER SUPPRESSION IS A WAY FOR THE TBAGGER/REPUBLIKKKLANS TO PREVENT DEMOCRATS FROM VOTING. WE ARE BACK IN THE DAYS OF JIM CROW! THIS MUST BE STOPPED BY THE COURTS. IT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND DIRTY TRICKS. GOD, WE MUST PUT AN END TO THESE DESPICABLE TBAGGER- REPUBLIKKKLANS! AMERICANS REVOLT!

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David C.
David C5 years ago

@Robert

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.

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David C.
David C5 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

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Robert Pavlick
Robert Pavlick5 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."

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