The Daily Show led off last night with the voter ID laws approved by GOP legislatures in Pa and other swing states this presidential year and finished off the spot with the Corbett administration legal stipulation that it has no evidence of election-day voter fraud.
"It doesn't happen, this [law] won't stop it, I think you see why we have to do it now," Jon Stewart said lawyerly. "Next up: leashes for unicorns."
Studies (like this one from the P-G's Andrew McGill) show Pa's voter ID bill will have the biggest impact on elderly voters. So it makes sense that members of the Pennsylvania Voter Hall of Fame (who have voted in general elections for 50 straight years and are 68 at the youngest) would be among those impacted. Voter ID critics at the AFL-CIO crunched the data and found 1 in 4 members of the Hall who are still actively voting appear on lists of those with no (or expiring) PennDOT ID. From my story:
The AFL-CIO cross-referenced the state's list of some 21,000 Hall of Fame members statewide with 2011 and 2012 voter data and found 5,923 who were still active voters. Of those voters, 1,384 (23 percent) are named in separate state data listing those who do not match up exactly with PennDOT ID data, or have IDs set to expire a year before the Nov. 6 election, rendering them unacceptable for voting.
"These are 1,384 individuals who have not missed a general election since at least 1961 -- but who may very well be prevented from voting for the first time this year -- if they are unaware of the new Voter ID Law, or unable to obtain the proper ID in time for the election," the union umbrella organization stated in releasing the findings.
Another voter on the no-ID rolls is PA18 Democratic congressional candidate Larry Maggi, whose name is spelled "Lawrence" on his PennDOT ID, meaning an election judge will make the call on whether that "substantially conforms" with his voter registration under the law. From a statement he issued yesterday:
“As a Marine, I served our country to protect freedom and democracy for every American. The most basic freedom in a democracy is the right to vote. Now, I am not even certain my vote will count this November. The state is not ready to implement this law if over 700,000 people do not have the proper ID to be eligible to vote---including veterans and lifelong residents.”
Maggi, who is also a former policeman, opposes the law. His campaign is launching a website called "Let Larry Vote" later today to publicize the problem.
In Philly, Democrats and the NAACP are up in arms over a study from a geographic data analysis firm showing the law has an outsized impact on minority voters (which the DoJ is looking into as well). From the Inquirer:
Examining wards by racial population, there was a strong relationship between high white population percentages and a low percentage without valid PennDot ID, and between a high black population percentage and a high percentage without valid PennDot ID. A moderate positive relationship was found between a neighborhood's Latino percentage and its percentage of invalid PennDot ID.
Those findings were based on information released by the Department of State, which includes the names of many people who have PennDot identification but appeared on the state's list anyway.
The relationship was strongest for those with expired ID - the new law does not allow ID that has been expired for more than a year from the election date - and weak for those with no PennDot ID. Higher populations of black voters tended to correlate with higher percentages of expired IDs; the opposite effect was true for white voters.