A new report commissioned by the American Civil Liberties Union shows that more than 1 million Pennsylvanians think they have the proper identification to vote—but they don’t.
Pennsylvania's new voter identification law, which state officials say could impact more than 750,000 people, may also have a more dramatic ripple effect on eligible voters who are unaware that their current identification might not be accepted at the voting booth, the ACLU argues.
Challenges to the law are now being heard before state court this week, but the difficulties facing Pennsylvania’s Democratic leadership are twofold as they must duke it out in court while also educating voters of the changes should the bill not be struck down before the November elections. “There is a two-front war and we’re fighting on both fronts as effectively as we can,” Jim Burn, chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party told msnbc's Chris Matthews on Thursday. Burn’s party is heading an aggressive voter outreach campaign in the coming week with hopes to alert voters of the change. And even one state election official is vowing to defy the law if it were to remain in place.'
The state’s own governor Tom Corbett—who signed the bill into law—was unable to name the forms of identification accepted under the new requirements. The ACLU’s report found that Corbett might not be alone in his confusion. One in three registered voters in the state were not even aware of the voter ID change, according to the report.
Opponents to the legislation argue that changes to voter ID requirements disproportionately impact Democratic-leaning minorities, particularly in the urban areas of Philadelphia.
State Rep. Mike Turzai in as much as reinforced that very idea while delivering a speech on the Pennsylvania House floor last month when he said the new voter ID law was “going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
“This is the smoking-gun evidence of voter suppression,” Judith Browne-Dianis, president of the Advancement Project, told Matthews Thursday. “There is no evidence of voter fraud in Pennsylvania, but there is evidence of voter suppression.”