You can actually feel the impact of the state’s new voter-ID law coming. I don’t mean whether it’s successful in fighting fraud, as Republican leaders claim, or whether it’s successful in allowing Mitt Romney to win the state, as one Republican leader claims. I mean in the sense that it’s starting to look like a Republican overreach that could end up benefiting Democrats. It’s starting to jump the shark. Thanks largely to House GOP Leader Mike Turzai saying last month that the law will help Republican Romney, we have ongoing national attention. The Washington Post on Sunday editorialized against the law, mentioned Turzai and urged courts to halt it. On Monday, a Boston Globe editorial singled out Turzai for “making it so clear” that the law isn’t about voter integrity but about who wins elections.
The Associated Press this week reports problems in other states with provisional or temporary ballots cast by voters who forget to bring or do not have photo ID. The report, noting that the 2000 presidential election was decided by 537 votes in Florida, said that more than 1,200 votes were tossed out in Indiana and Georgia in 2008 and hundreds more during primaries this year in those states and Tennessee. (Pennsylvania allows for provisional or temporary ballots, too. A voter then has six calendar days to provide election officials with a valid ID.)
Add to this recently released figures showing more than 758,000 voters don’t have PennDOT photo IDs — including nearly one in five Philly voters — and you start to sense fallout to come. Never mind that the 758,000 number is not the true number since it includes nonactive voters and voters who might well have other photo ID; even if it’s half that, or a third, or a quarter, it’s problematic. It’s enough to sway a close election and far more than officials predicted.