Monday, July 23, 2012

More than 1 million PA voters may lack valid IDs

The Justice Department is investigating the PA Voter ID law
This just in: the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating the Pennsylvania Voter ID Act and an expert report submitted to the Commonwealth Court ahead of Wednesday's court hearing on the new law  may help it establish a good case of vote suppression.
The report estimates that 1,055,200 registered Pennsylvania voters (almost 13 percent) lack a valid photo ID and 1,364,433 or 14.4 percent, of eligible voters lack a valid ID to vote in November's presidential election.
If this report is correct, that's more than 1 million of the state's  already registered, already on the books, voters who do not qualify to vote under the state's new voter ID law.  That's out of the state's roughly 8.8 million total registered voters, or nearly one in nine. 
Worse, an estimated 1.2 million eligible Pennsylvania voters think they have a valid ID, but do not, according to the 97-page report based on surveys conducted by Matt A. Barreto, Ph.D., of the University of Washington and Gabriel R. Sanchez, Ph.D, of the University of New Mexico.   
Even worse, 37 percent of eligible voters, 34 percent of registered voters and 34 percent of those who voted in 2008 are totally unaware that a photo ID law exists, the report says.
That's one-third or more of the state's potential voters who don't even know they will need to produce a driver's license or other government-sanctioned photo ID with when they walk into their polling place in November.  Fortunately a majority of them will have a valid driver's license.  Let's hope they bring it with them.
In addition to the lawsuit, Applewhite v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, No. 330 MD 2012, which will be heard starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, it was disclosed today that the U.S. Department of Justice has opened a formal investigation of the state's voter ID law by sending a three-page letter to Pennsylvania Secretary of State Carol Aichele Monday asking her for a bunch of annoying records, including the entire state voter registration list AND the entire current state driver's license and personal identification card list AND all documents identifying registered voters who lack acceptable proof of identification AND the records supporting Aichele's recent estimate that only758,000 registered voters lack state-issued photo ID.
By the way, the DOJ wants those records in 30 days. 
The DOJ's probe marks the first time it has publicly acknowledged a formal investigation of a voter ID law passed in a state which is not covered by Section 5 of the 1964 Voting Rights Act, which requires certain states with a history of racial discrimination to have changes to their voting laws precleared.  The Pennsylvania investigation falls under Section 2 of the VRA, which prohibits any state from enacting a “voting standard, practice, or procedure that results in the denial or abridgement of the right of any citizen to vote on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.”
And, in Professor Barreto's expert report, the DOJ has a big helping hand in proving that minorities are being denied the right to vote.   He found that the biggest impact of the new law will be on Latino voters, 18 percent of whom lack a valid ID compared to non-Hispanic  whites (14 percent)who  lack a valid ID.  Also more women (17 percent) than men (11 percent) do.
The kind of good news is this: Barreto estimates that among eligible voters, 86% of whites and 86.8% of Blacks possess a valid photo ID, and for registered voters the figures are 87 percent and 86 percent.
But enough statistics.  Read the report if you're a statistics maven.
Sufficient to say, we're having some fun now, boys and girls.

No comments:

Post a Comment