More PA Voters Lack PennDOT ID Cards
More Pennsylvania voters – and Philadelphia voters in particular – lack PennDOT ID cards.
Based on a comparison of voter registration rolls with PennDOT databases, it is expected that 9.2 percent of the state’s 8.2 million voters do not have the proper ID needed to vote in November.
This adds up to more than 758,000 people.
In Philadelphia, the number of people who lack IDs is higher – at nearly 1 in 5 people.
This is much higher than Corbett administration estimates, which placed the number of voters without IDs as low as 1 percent.
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Bob Warner has the story:
The new numbers, based on a comparison of voter registration rolls with PennDot ID databases, shows the potential problem is much bigger, particularly in Philadelphia, where 186,830 registered voters – 18 percent of the city’s total registration – do not have PennDot ID.
Republican lawmakers pushed the bill through the legislature in March and it was signed into law by Gov. Corbett, over protests from Democrats that the measure would disenfranchise thousands of voters, disproportionately affecting those without driver’s licenses – the poor, the elderly, and the young.
House Republican leader Mike Turzai acknowledged the law’s political implications at a Republican State Committee meeting last month.
A Department of State spokesman, Ron Ruman, noted that 167,566 of the registered voters without PennDot ID were classified as “inactive,” not having voted in the last four years. “Our experience is, a lot of these people are former college students who don’t live here anymore,” he said in an interview.
Philadelphia’s top election official, City Commission Chair Stephanie Singer, said the figures reinforced her view that the state’s new law was designed to suppress voter turnout in the predominantly Democratic city.
With 18 percent of voters not having PennDot ID, she said, “Philadelphia is hit much harder by this than any of the other counties.”
Behind Philadelphia’s 18 percent, nine other counties – Allegheny, Cameron, Centre, Cumberland, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lawrence, Montour, and Union – were reported to have 10 percent to 12 percent of their voters without PennDot ID. In the other 57 counties, more than 90 percent of voters reportedly had driver’s licenses or nondriver ID, according to the state data.
Slate also picked up the story:
In 2008, Barack Obama won Pennsylvania by the biggest majority of any candidate since 1972 — 620,478 votes. So, the total number of voters lacking ID is greater than that. Most of Obama’s margin came from his landslide in Philadelphia County — 478,759 votes over John McCain. So, the total voter bloc that lacks valid ID is about 39 percent as large as the Obama-McCain margin.
You see the problem for Obama. It’s entirely possible that, on election day, a majority of Pennsylvanians will want to vote for the Democrat, but a few hundred thousand of them will lack the tools to do so under the new ID law. Student IDs, military IDs, and passports will be enough to get you counted, but only the first kind of ID disproportionately favors Democrats.
The new estimates fail to account for people who have a form of ID other than a PennDOT-issued one.