A coalition of civil rights groups has asked Pennsylvania’s highest court to review a voter identification law that it says will disenfranchise over 1 million voters ahead of the U.S. presidential election in the battleground state. A state judge this week rejected their challenge to the law, which requires voters to present photo identification such as a driver’s license in order to cast a ballot. Republican lawmakers say it will help prevent voter fraud. Critics charge that it is a ploy to keep mainly Democratic voters from casting ballots. Katherine Culliton-Gonzalez, a lawyer for the Advancement Project — one of the groups behind the appeal filed on Thursday — said she had requested the top court hear oral arguments in the case during its next session, which runs September 10-14. “Obviously if we wait for the damage to be done, the election will be over,” Culliton-Gonzalez said on Friday.
She said older voters and students, as well as blacks and Latinos, are less likely to have the necessary ID to allow them to vote. An analysis commissioned by opponents of the law said up to 14 percent of all eligible voters in Pennsylvania lack the necessary ID. The state says the measure would help fight voter fraud such as in cases where convicted felons, who are barred from voting, try to cast a ballot. It has also said it was unaware of any instance of voter impersonation fraud. The state attorney general’s office had no immediate response to the appeal.