All eyes will be on Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson starting Monday as the state awaits his decision on the voter ID challenge sometime during the week. Til then . . .

Atlantic Cities studies the unique voter ID problems facing Philadelphia, where transit-riding elderly voters have little in common with Republicans or anybody else in much more rural parts of the state:

Herein lies the unique quandary in Philadelphia. It is a large, left-leaning city, with the public transportation system of an old Northeastern metro area built in the era before cars. But it happens, right now, to be located in a state with a Republican-controlled legislature. There are plenty of older cities in America where large numbers of people might not have driver's licenses. But most of those cities, as Gaskins points out, are in solidly blue states where it's highly unlikely that voter ID laws would pass in the first place. This is also true of places like Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle.

Look, instead, at the nine other states that the Brennan Center studied: Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The Northeastern States (Rhode Island and New Hampshire) don't have major cities on the scale of Philadelphia, and they both have high driver's license penetration. And the states outside of the Northeast (particularly Sun Belt states like Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas) are home to new, auto-oriented cities where it's much harder to get by without a car.

Philadelphia happens to sit at the crux of these unusual demographics, as a Democratic city where you don't need a car in a Republican state (for now). Of course, to further heighten the stakes, it's also in a political battleground for 2012. These dynamics don't just play out between Philadelphia and the rest of the state, but between Philadelphia proper and its suburbs.

We already knew Democratic PA18 congressional candidate Larry Maggi of Washington County is on the state's no-ID list. In looking further into it the Observer-Reporter notes even the county's election director, Larry Spahr, is on the list for having a stray middle initial.

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