Breaking: Pennsylvania’s controversial voter ID law has been overturned:
— Determination (@gsDetermination) January 17, 2014
— Pittsburgh news now (@PittsburghPG) January 17, 2014
— Charles Monaco (@charlesmonaco) January 17, 2014
— Marc Levy (@timelywriter) January 17, 2014
— Katie McGinty (@McGintyForGov) January 17, 2014
Not everybody was happy:
— Beanfrompa (@BeanfromPa) January 17, 2014
As the state Supreme Court mulls the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law, a new study adds some context to the debate. The study, commissioned by the AFL-CIO, found that between 35,239 and 36,613 did not come out to vote last year because of confusion arising from the passage of the law, which was not actually in effect. The union conducted the study by measuring the turnout among those registered voters with ID and those without ID, figuring that those who didn’t thought their ballots wouldn’t be counted. They found that those without ID were half as likely to vote as those with ID. And those people, by a 2.5-to-1 margin, tended to be Democrats.
Let’s clarify: If you’re poor in Philadelphia, there’s a good chance you’ve never needed a driver’s license. (Cars are expensive to maintain and park; and there’s a functioning public transit system here.) There’s a good chance you’ve never been to college. There’s a good chance, generally, that you’ve never needed to obtain any of the types of identification needed to vote.
Which means, ultimately, that the law could not have been more perfectly crafted to keep Philadelphia—and its huge population of impoverished city-dwellers—from making a difference in the state’s elections.