Over 750k Pennsylvania voters could be lacking valid ID
Earlier this year, my state of Pennsylvania joined many other states in passing a strict new voter ID law. Proponents of such laws claim they are merely to ensure voters are who they say they are, and to prevent voter fraud. This claim has always been a bit questionable. Voter fraud has never been shown to be that widespread.
Several months ago, I wrote here about my dilemma regarding voter ID laws in general. At the time I was severely torn as I felt that both sides were making dishonest arguments. However, in the ensuing months I have been following the Pennsylvania law to some degree. While it does not affect me personally as I have multiple forms of ID, I’m well aware that the areas that will be most affected will be heavily urban, Democratic-leaning counties like Philadelphia and Allegheny (where Pittsburgh is located).
Now a report is out showing that over 750,000 people in the Commonwealth could be ineligible to vote in November. According to the report, as many as 18% of Philadelphia residents may lack valid ID. The actual numbers are likely lower because some of these voters may have non-PennDOT ID’s that qualify. But either way, there are a lot of voters who otherwise could vote that now can’t.
Might some of these voters have insidious motives? Possibly. But it seems unlikely that that is a significant amount. It’s also true that many of these voters lacking ID could get one at taxpayer expense. However, it troubles me greatly that the vast majority of the disqualified voters are Democratic and poor. These concerns are bolstered further by comments by House Speaker Mike Turzai that Voter ID is “gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
It’s looking more and more like the motives behind Voter ID laws are less than noble. Back in March I wondered whether these laws were “taking the proverbial hammer to a problem that simply does not warrant it.” Now there is ample evidence that they are plainly being used for partisan advantage. I can’t see how I can support such a thing.