43 Percent of Philadelphia Voters Might Lack Valid ID

Daniel Denvir, the Sid Hersh of Pennsylvania voting law stories, crunches new numbers and finds more than two in five Philadelphians potentially lacking voter IDs.

In Philadelphia, an enormous 437,237 people, or 43 percent of city voters, may not possess the valid PennDOT ID necessary to vote under the state’s controversial new law.

“Those are the numbers we sent,” says Nick Winkler, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of State, when asked to confirm the data. “If you want to add them together, I think it’s misleading.”


What’s misleading? The numbers change. People die and people move. This new, high estimate is more than double the estimate that the state produced last month – 18 percent. So what does more panic and huffing do for the anti-ID crowd? It is read, possibly, by the judges at the Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg, who are currently hearing the ACLU’s case on behalf of a bunch of elderly or transgender voters who have no way of meeting the new ID standard.

Previously, the best thing the ACLU had going for it was Assembly Leader Mike Turzai’s statement that the new ID would “allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.” There’s wiggle room in there. Other Republicans in back-and-forths with reporters, have argued that Democrats simply benefit more from fraudulent votes. Not much proof for that, sure, but it’s an argument about real fraudulent votes. The immense strain and chaos of a new ID law, random disenfranchisement that could hit legitimate voters? That’s another argument.