The law was later amended, broadening the definition of “photo ID” to include, for instance, a student or employee ID from an institute of higher learning, as long as that ID carried an expiration date – but the geniuses in Harrisburg later discovered that nearly 90 percent of the state’s universities issue IDs without an expiration date. In any event, PennDOT remains ground zero for getting those photo IDs, but nine counties don’t have a PennDOT office (which is a problem, because, by definition, the aggrieved voter doesn’t drive), another 13 counties have offices that are open only one day a week, and the urban counties typically have long waits (as this persistent woman recently found out, after waiting four hours).
Actually, that’s how the GOP’s voter suppression law was intended to work – by not working. Somewhere between 100,000 and 500,000 registered voters are potentially disenfranchised by the law, yet, according to the state’s own testimony last Thursday, less than 10,000 of those voters have been properly sorted out by PennDOT. The rules keep changing, citizen groups keep rewriting their advice manuals, and Knorr himself said in court the state “could probably do better” if given more time. But the law didn’t lay out a long time line. Quite the opposite. It was specifically enacted to screw with this particular election and suppress voters who were likely to support President Obama.
What’s really farcical is that, even now, the governing GOP is clinging to its discredited talking points. In court Thursday, state lawyer Alfred Putnam said that the law was passed last March in order to address the “declining confidence in our electoral system” – a reference to the GOP’s warnings about voter fraud, especially the people who show up at the polls impersonating registered voters. Hence the supposed need for photo IDS, to discourage those impersonators.
….Yet the state admitted this summer – in writing, in a court document – that it has no evidence whatsoever of anyone in Pennsylvania trying to impersonate a registered voter: “There have been no investigations and prosecutions of in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania . . . (The state) will not offer any evidence that in-person voter fraud has in fact occurred in Pennsylvania.”
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