Tuesday, February 9, 2016

More Voter ID Stuff

Numbers from the state elections folks suggest voter ID could be more of a problem for Democrats than Republicans suggest.

More Voter ID Stuff


Not to rile those who still believe the state's new voter ID law is all about fighting fraud and has nothing to do with depressing the Democratic vote in a General Election year, but...

Gov. Corbett's appointed Secretary of the Commonwealth, Carol Aichele, who's department oversee elections, released some numbers mid-afternoon Tuesday before the July 4 holiday (certainly just a coincidence) that might help Democratic claims that the law has more to do with politics than fraud.

The numbers, as reported in the July 4 Inky, say a match-up of voter registration rolls and PennDOT photo ID data shows that 9% of statewide voters do not have photo IDs.

The secretary initiallly put the number at just 1%.

PennDOT IDs are the most common photo IDs accepted under the new law in order to vote.

The new data shows 758,939 voters could not be matched with PennDOT IDs.

The county-by-county breakdown shows the largest concentration of such voters is in Philly (186,830) and Allegheny County (99,218), both Democratic strongholds.

The total of just these the two counties (286,048) is more than three times the total votes former Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak lost by in his 2010 Senate race against Republican Pat Toomey. Toomey beat Sestak by 80,229 votes.

The just-released numbers include "inactive" voters and those who may have other photo IDs, and the department says it will contact all voters without PennDOT IDs by letter this summer to remind them of the new law.

Still, when coupled with recent remarks by Republican House Leader Mike Turzai that voter ID will "allow" Mitt Romney to carry Pennsylvania this year, the state data seems to bolster claims that fighting fraud isn't the only thing the law's about.

The issue, which is getting national attention, is headed to Commonwealth Court July 25 and, almost certainly, will end up in the state Supreme Court.


Daily News Political Columnist
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About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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