A Pennsylvania Republican justice has questioned whether or not the state’s new Voter ID law actually requires the state to ensure the voting rights of every registered voter, even those unable to obtain a valid state issued ID in time.
The PA law is one of the strictest in the country and requires all voters to present valid state issued ID at the polls. The state of Pennsylvania estimated that 758,000 people lack necessary identification to vote. Although Pennsylvania has voted Democrat in every presidential election since 1992, that number far surpasses the relatively narrow margin President Obama won the state by in 2008.
In major democratic urban centers with large minority populations like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, there is widespread access to public transportation. Having a driver’s license, one of the most common forms of state ID, is therefore significantly less common. For some folks not born in state, it can be very difficult to obtain appropriate documentation from bureaucracies in their home states.
In Wisconsin, another crucial swing state (where the Voter ID law was invariably struck down on the grounds of unconstitutionality), a national group known as True the Vote has been working extensively since 2011 on voter fraud causes. Although they claim to be non-partisan (“this is not about politics“), True the Vote is funded by major conservative organizations which make no bones about their intention to defeat President Obama. ( For instance, Americans for Prosperity backed by the Koch Brothers has ‘sponsored meetings‘ featuring True The Vote). To date, True The Vote has reviewed over one million signatures, concluding that 63,038 were ineligible, 212,628 required further investigation, and 584,489 were valid.
But the state’s accountability board has disagreed with their findings, deeming over 900,000 signatures valid. According to the board, signatures were struck down by True The Vote for containing abbreviations of mailing addresses (True the Vote’s software did not recognize abbreviations), shortening middle names to initials, and lacking zip codes. The board notes that True the Vote’s results “were significantly less accurate, complete and reliable than the review and analysis completed by the G.A.B.”
Likewise, top election and law enforcement officials claim that True The Vote has significantly slowed lines at the polls, and waged false accusations about illegal voters from Michigan (similar to unverifiable claims made by them in 2010 elections in San Diego).