As the Pennsylvania voter ID law works its way through the courts, the potential impact comes more deeply into focus. Daniel Denvir writes about the whopping number of people in Philadelphia who do not have eligible ID at this point. This includes people with expired licenses:
The number of Pennsylvanians who might not have the photo identification necessary to vote this November has more than doubled: at least 1,636,168 registered voters, or 20 percent of Pennsylvania voters, may not have valid PennDOT-issued ID, according to new data obtained by City Paper. In Philadelphia, an enormous 437,237 people, or 43 percent of city voters, may not possess the valid PennDOT ID necessary to vote under the state’s controversial new law.
“Those are the numbers we sent,” says Nick Winkler, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of State, when asked to confirm the data. “If you want to add them together, I think it’s misleading.”
Yes, it’s usually misleading to add numbers. Pennsylvania journalists should report every individual number separately, and just write 1,636,168 different stories about the topic.
I’ll let you in on a little secret about Pennsylvania; Democrats can only win there by running up the score in Philadelphia. So disqualifying 43% of their electorate comes in very handy, if you’re a Republican. That’s why the House Majority Leader in the state said previously that the law will “allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
The state has responded to the criticism by allowing for the issue of new ID cards, which can be obtained with a birthdate, Social Security number and two proofs of residency. But it will take a massive effort to get those cards into the hands of this many people. State Democrats will have to reorient their campaigns just to ensure valid IDs in the hands of all voters.