This morning’s session of the trial on the state’s controversial voter ID law concluded after hearing nearly three hours of testimony from a statistician who concluded hundreds of thousands of registered voters lack identification required to vote. Bernard Siskin, a Philadelphia statistical consultant, spent the morning on the witness stand in the Commonwealth Court dissecting his analysis that compared the state’s voter registration database with the state Department of Transportation database. Siskin told Judge Bernard McGinley that his comparison of the databases found 511,415 registered voters in Pennsylvania who had either no valid PennDOT or Department of State ID or one that would be expired by the upcoming November election, the first election when the law is to take effect. He said allowing for margins of error and data issues, the number of registered voters lacking ID to vote come November would still be in the hundreds of thousands.
His testimony marked the start of the second day of the scheduled 10-day trial on the law that began on Monday.
The General Assembly passed the state’s voter ID law in March 2012 to prevent voter fraud and preserve the integrity of elections. It was to take effect in time for the 2012 presidential election, but the law’s opponents succeeded in their efforts of getting the court to delay its implementation.
In the current court proceeding, opponents are seeking to overturn the law and permanently prevent its implementation.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania-led coalition of plaintiffs opposed to the law’s implementation argue that the law will disenfranchise voters who are unable to obtain a form of ID that the law considers acceptable to vote.
The law’s opponents argue, and Siskin’s testimony confirmed, that minorities, Democrats, older and younger voters and females were more likely to be the ones who lack valid IDs.