Commonwealth Court has blocked a bid by a group that is challenging the state’s controversial Voter ID Law to get the driver’s license information of every Pennsylvanian. The Washington, D.C.-based Advancement Project has no legal right to that data, which includes birth dates, addresses and Social Security numbers, the court ruled. Marian K. Schneider, a consulting attorney with the Advancement Project, said the group, which calls itself a “multi-racial civil rights organization,” is considering whether to ask the state Supreme Court to hear the case. Schneider said she sought the information so the Advancement Project could determine how many registered voters don’t have photo identification they would need to cast ballots under the Voter ID Law.
Her agency and other opponents of that law, which is still under scrutiny by the state courts, argue that it would disenfranchise many people who could not secure identification required for voting.
“There is a serious public interest in learning how many registered voters do not have a form of photo ID,” Schneider said today.
“There is a serious public interest in learning how many registered voters do not have a form of photo ID.” – Marian Schneider
She said her agency promised the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that none of the information sought regarding driver’s licenses and non-driver IDs would be released publicly.
The dispute dates to September 2011 when Schneider filed a written request under the state’s Right-to-Know Law.
She asked that PennDOT provide the name, address, birth date, the full Social Security number or last four digits of that number and the issuance and expiration dates for every driver’s license and non-driver identification it issued in the prior four years.
Schneider told the court she intended to compare that information with the list of registered voters kept by the Pennsylvania Department of State.
PennDOT denied Schneider’s request, saying it didn’t have such a list, was not required by law to create one and that it is barred by state and federal law from disclosing the information she sought.