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After voter ID decision, education process continues

By   /   August 16, 2012  /   No Comments

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

HARRISBURG – While Wednesday’s Commonwealth Court ruling that upheld Pennsylvania’s controversial voter ID law was a blow against opponents of the measure, the decision has helped educate some voters about the new requirement.

Pennsylvania voters soon will be getting a lesson in voting.

The Committee of Seventy, a Philadelphia-based voter advocacy organization, fielded about twice as many phone calls from residents on Thursday than it does on a typical day, according to Zack Stalberg, the organization’s president.

“It has, in an oddball way, actually helped because it has made people more aware of the issue,” Stalberg said on Thursday. “People who might not have realized they needed an ID a few days ago are now making sure they do.”

The Committee of Seventy is working to educate voters.

The organization is part of a broad coalition of about 150 groups that are engaged in an “aggressive educational campaign” targeting parts of the state with high numbers of registered voters who may not have the necessary identification, Stalberg said.

The state estimates that about 750,000 registered voters in Pennsylvania lack the necessary identification to vote in November, but Stalberg said its nearly impossible to know the exact total.

“There’s a lot of junky numbers out there. Nobody, including the state, knows the real number,” he said.

The Department of State also is engaged in a voter education effort and has streamlined the process of getting a photo ID through the state Department of Transportation, which will be providing “voting only” identification cards beginning on August 27.

The Committee of Seventy and other groups are offering rides to PennDOT licensing centers for those with no other means of transportation.

The ALCU of Pennsylvania, which represented most of the plaintiffs in the voter ID case, filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon.  They are asking the higher court to reverse the ruling by Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson.

No date is set for a potential hearing with the state’s high court.

Contact Eric Boehm at [email protected]ent. Follow him on Twitter @PAIndependent

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Eric Boehm is the national regulatory reporter for Watchdog.org. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. His work has appeared in Reason Magazine, National Review Online, The Freeman Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Examiner and Fox News. He was once featured in a BuzzFeed listicle. Follow him on Twitter @EricBoehm87 and reach him at [email protected]