At a recent meeting of the Pennsylvania GOP State Committee, the top Republican in the state House of Representatives, Mike Turzai, declared that a new requirement for voters to show identification with a photograph on it “is going to allow Gov. [Mitt] Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.” He drew wild applause from Republicans in the crowd. The new law being referred to won approval under the state’s Republican Governor Tom Corbett and the GOP majority in the state legislature. The result is that 9.2 percent of the state’s 8.2 million voters are suddenly at risk of losing their right to vote. Eighteen percent of the registered voters in Philadelphia do not have government issued photographic identification. That means they won’t be able to vote.
According to a July report from the Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth, more than 758,000 voters statewide do not have the necessary photo identification cards issued by the State Department of Transportation. President Obama won the state by about 600,000 votes in 2008. A suit to block the new law – by the American Civil Liberties Union – has been filed on behalf of a 93-year-old great grandmother who has voted in nearly every election for the past 60 years but who is unable to obtain the photo ID necessary for her to vote this year.
In response to the ACLU suit Pennsylvania officials admitted in court documents that they do not have one shred of evidence of significant voter fraud in the state. “There have been no investigations of prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania; and the parties do not have direct personal knowledge of any such investigations or prosecutions in other states,” according to official state papers sent to the court.