The contentious state voter ID law should pose no problem for most Pennsylvania voters, according to the Department of State and PennDOT, but local opponents of the law say the state’s numbers show almost one in 10 voters could be disenfranchised. The two agencies compared data and found that 91 percent of the state’s registered voters have a PennDOT ID number on identification that qualifies them to vote. Supporters say the law is needed to prevent voter fraud. Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele said in a news release on Tuesday that the comparison “confirms that most Pennsylvanians have acceptable photo ID for voting this November.” Officials at the department and PennDOT could not be reached for further comment. “What’s truly scary about this report is that it makes my case,” Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner said. “About 10 percent of otherwise eligible Pennsylvanians are disenfranchised by the Voter ID law. That’s not an acceptable number of people to tell that they can’t vote.” Disenfranchised groups, Wagner said, include older residents, students and the poor.
Democrats on Allegheny County’s election board plan to challenge the state’s new voter ID law as being too expensive and too difficult to implement in time for the November presidential election. That claim will be at the heart of a lawsuit the election board is expected to bring next week, county Executive Rich Fitzgerald said at a news conference Friday. Rather than challenging the constitutionality of the law itself, as the American Civil Liberties Union and others are doing, local officials say the new law is too complicated and expensive to put in place by Nov. 6. Mr. Fitzgerald is one of three members of the election board. The new law requires voters to show government-approved photo identification before they can cast ballots. Mr. Fitzgerald said it would be prohibitive for the county to train the more than 6,500 poll workers who man the county’s 1,300 polling places. He said there would not be enough time to train them in new procedures required to check identifications and allow voters to use provisional ballots if they don’t have proper ID.