The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments today over the state’s voter-ID law as a new study found almost 700,000 young, minority voters nationwide could be barred from the polls by similar statutes. Proponents argue the law, passed by Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature, is needed to stop voter fraud and enhance the integrity of the election process. Voter advocacy groups say the measure is aimed at keeping some likely Democratic voters away from the polls. Laws requiring photo identification to vote in battleground states including Pennsylvania and Florida could be the deciding factor in the Nov. 6 presidential election, according to the study by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Chicago. More than 100,000 voters under the age of 30 could be barred in Florida and as many as 44,000 in Pennsylvania if the laws in those states are upheld, according to the study.
Pennsylvania is one of nine states requiring voters to show a state-issued ID before casting a ballot. Last month, a lower- court judge denied a request to block the law, ruling that the American Civil Liberties Union and 10 citizen-plaintiffs failed to prove it would disenfranchise voters. Seventeen states require voters to present some kind of photo. The state Supreme Court agreed to hear the case on an expedited basis. Lawyers in the case said it’s unlikely the justices will rule today.