While Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law is under federal investigation and on trial in a state court, new figures show that more than 1.6 million Pennsylvanians might not have the photo identification necessary to vote this November, including 43 percent (437,000) of Philadelphia’s voters.
According to the Philadelphia City Paper, state officials dispute the figures but those same officials have been caught drastically under estimating the number of voters who might be disenfranchised by the new law passed in March by the Republican-controlled legislature and signed by Gov. Tom Corbett (R).
But it is the state's very inability to determine a final estimate of just how many Pennsylvanians might be impacted by the law that has fueled criticism. Initially, the state said that only 1 percent lacked valid ID. On July 3, that number skyrocketed when the Pennsylvania secretary of state announced that 758,939 registered voters in the state, or 9 percent, may not have PennDOT IDs.
The bill mirrors other voter suppression laws Republican-controlled state legislatures have passed in recent years based on model legislation from the extremist American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
Philadelphia, with a large minority voting population, will have a major impact on who wins the state’s votes in the presidential election. Last month, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R) boasted the voter ID law “is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
Speaking of Romney, the City Paper’s Daniel Denvir also reports:
And two weeks ago, I broke the news that the Corbett administration had awarded a $250,000 voter ID PR contract to the Bravo Group, a firm run by Mitt Romney fundraiser and longtime state GOP leader Chris Bravacos. On Friday, Talking Points Memo described how six people working on that contract all have GOP ties.
Read his full report here.
Meanwhile, columnist Harold Meyerson looks at a very frightening outcome if the voter suppression laws that have come on the books recently have the maximum impact their backers hope.
If voter suppression goes forward and Romney narrowly prevails, consider the consequences. An overwhelmingly and increasingly white Republican Party, based in the South, will owe its power to discrimination against black and Latino voters. The course on which Republicans have embarked isn’t politics as usual. We don’t rig elections by race in America, not anymore, and anyone who does should not be rewarded with uncontested power.
Read his full column here.
Learn how to protect your voting rights at our "My Vote, My Right" website here.