- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Nearly 10 percent of Pennsylvania’s registered voters do not have photo identification cards from the state transportation department and could be ineligible to vote in November under the state’s new Republican-backed voter ID law.

The Pennsylvania Department of State reported Tuesday that more than 758,000 registered voters lack a standard driver’s license or a non-driver photo ID. That’s 9.2 percent of the state’s 8.2 million voters.

In Philadelphia, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 6-1, 18 percent of the city’s registered voters do not have the state photo ID, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The data could have implications in the presidential race, in which presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney has been trailing President Obama in Pennsylvania by an average of 8 percentage points.

To win the state, Democratic candidates traditionally must pile up big margins of victory in Philadelphia to offset Republican vote totals elsewhere in the state.

The president will campaign in western Pennsylvania Friday on the second day of a two-day bus tour that begins in Ohio. Mr. Obama won Pennsylvania in 2008 by about 10 percentage points over Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.

Under the state’s new voter ID law, other forms of photo identification will be accepted at polling places, including U.S. passports, military ID cards and student identification cards with expiration dates. The Republican-led legislature approved the measure in March, and Republican Gov. Tom Corbett signed it into law.

At a meeting of the Republican State Committee in June, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, Allegheny County Republican, predicted the new law “is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”
Opponents of the law are challenging it in state court; a hearing is scheduled for July 25.

This year, 32 states introduced voter ID legislation, either new proposals or amendments to strengthen existing laws.

Measures are still pending in Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Ohio, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. A voter ID proposal failed in Maryland; Virginia enacted a measure that allows voters to use a concealed-handgun permit as an acceptable form of identification.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, on Tuesday vetoed voter ID bills that supporters called an effort to crack down on voter fraud. Opponents said the legislation was an attempt to disenfranchise minority voters.

Mr. Snyder rejected measures sponsored by GOP legislators that would have required voters to prove U.S. citizenship in order to receive a ballot and to show a[EnSpace]photo ID to obtain an absentee ballot.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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