Opponents of Pennsylvania’s new voter identification bill are pointing to new data showing some 1.6 million registered voters could be without acceptable PennDOT ID on election day — double the number the state released last month — and affecting a quarter of all voters in Allegheny County. State election officials say the number is that high due to a host of complicating factors, including that voters could have acceptable IDs other than driver’s licenses, but said they were committed to reaching all 8.2 million voters statewide in advance of Nov. 6 to notify them of the new requirements. The findings come the same day as arguments started in a legal challenge of the bill in Commonwealth Court, and Gov. Tom Corbett lashed out at the Obama administration for its handling of a probe of the law. The Department of State announced July 3 there are roughly 758,000 registered voters statewide who do not appear on PennDOT’s photo ID list, with some 98,000 of them in Allegheny County. On Monday, the AFL-CIO received another data set from the department that adds those with voters carrying PennDOT IDs that have expired since Nov. 6, 2011, rendering them invalid under the law for voting this fall: that number is 1.64 million statewide, with 218,000 in the state’s second-largest county.
That would mean up to 25 percent of voters in the heavily Democratic county could be without acceptable licenses, and 33 percent of all its seniors. In Philadelphia, the number is 437,000, covering 43 percent of total voters and 48 percent of its seniors. The data are another blow to already overwhelmed voting rights activists trying to make sure voters have ID, as well as pro-Democratic groups like the AFL-CIO worried about negative impacts on that party’s turnout. “Our program will have to take into account that it’s not just those without IDs, it’s also those who might not have noticed that their IDs have been expired. How often do you check the expiration date on your driver’s license?” said Yuri Beckelman, spokesman for the union group’s Pennsylvania political arm.