In September the state’s top election official, Carol Aichele, lauded Pennsylvanians who had voted in general elections for 50 straight years and were being named members of the Pennsylvania Voter Hall of Fame. “Voting is among our most fundamental and important rights as United States citizens,” the secretary of the commonwealth told inductees in Butler. “President Eisenhower said, ‘The future of the Republic is in the hands of the voters.’ Voting is the most basic means by which we, the people, keep control of our government.” A new study by union critics of the state’s strict new voter identification law argues nearly a quarter of such Hall of Fame voters, all of whom are elderly, may not have acceptable ID to exercise that right in November.
The AFL-CIO cross-referenced the state’s list of some 21,000 Hall of Fame members statewide with 2011 and 2012 voter data and found 5,923 who were still active voters. Of those voters, 1,384 (23 percent) are named in separate state data listing those who do not match up exactly with PennDOT ID data, or have IDs set to expire a year before the Nov. 6 election, rendering them unacceptable for voting.
“These are 1,384 individuals who have not missed a general election since at least 1961 — but who may very well be prevented from voting for the first time this year — if they are unaware of the new Voter ID Law, or unable to obtain the proper ID in time for the election,” the union umbrella organization stated in releasing the findings.