Wednesday, 01 August 2012 10:10
Andrew McGill and I have a story today looking at the list of nearly 100,000 voters in Allegheny County identified by the state as possibly not having PennDOT IDs, a list that includes late Pittsburgh Mayor Bob O'Connor's wife Judy (a longtime judge of elections at her local precinct) and a bunch of other recognizable Democratic names. The state issued the list knowing many of those listed probably had ID of some kind but wanted to blanket as many as possible with letters reminding them to check their ID status.
Confused yet? Even the state's top election official admitted in court yesterday that she's not entirely familiar with the state's new law, Karen Langley reports. The ACLU is set to finish its case against the legislation at Commonwealth Court today.
Andrew created this search function for residents of Pennsylvania's second-biggest county to check their status.
The list confirms fears from Democrats and other Voter ID opponents that minority, elderly and youth voters look to be most affected. From the story:
Others on the list of 99,115 voters in Allegheny County who don't match with PennDOT records include county councilman and United Steelworkers official John DeFazio, county Executive Rich Fitzgerald's wife, Cathy, county Judge Michael Della Vecchia and city Councilman William Peduto.
All those political names have ID and will be able to vote in November, and all are Democrats.
The requirements "are a sure case of voter suppression that 10 years from now we'll look back on and change," said Mr. Peduto, of Point Breeze. "Anybody arguing the case this [legislation] is to go after fraud and abuse is fooling themselves. This a measure to intimidate people not to show up to vote."
"This kind of mistake is likely a drop in the bucket, but it makes it clear that we really have no clue how many people these misguided voter suppression laws will affect," USW International President Leo Gerard said of Mr. DeFazio being on the list. "If the records are wrong for an elected official who has served for years, then what about the thousands of others who could lose their rights? Who belongs on this list? Who does not? We really don't know."
An analysis of the Allegheny County data shows nearly a third of listed voters are 60 or older, and many are clustered in a series of ZIP codes that make up some of Pittsburgh's poorest neighborhoods -- East Liberty/Lincoln-Lemington, East Hills and the Hill District.
Women are nearly twice as likely to be without ID in Allegheny County. Voters in their 20s -- an important subset for Democrats -- are the second-most impacted age group, after those 80 and older. Democrats dominate the list, accounting for 66 percent of all voters suspected to lack ID. (Democrats make up 61 percent of all registered voters in the county.)