2012-09-27 / State

State says 12,000 cards issued so far


— The state’s top election official says nearly 12,000 new identification cards have been issued by the commonwealth to residents seeking to comply with a tough new

Pennsylvania law requiring voters to show photo ID.

Secretary of Commonwealth Carol Aichele said

Wednesday that most of those cards are non-driver voter identification cards. Aichele estimates about 100,000 of the 9.6 million eligible voters in Pennsylvania don’t have the most common form of identification — a driver’s license.

The state has been pressing ahead with implementing the guideline even with the new law still under scrutiny in the courts.

Aichele spoke Wednesday at Penn State University, where she praised the school’s efforts to add expiration dates to student ID cards — a change that makes the cards a valid ID at the polls. state’s performance up until now ensures that some people will be prevented from exercising their right to vote, particularly college students, the poor, minorities, the elderly and the disabled.

In the meantime, the state has pressed ahead, sending postcards about the law to registered voters, airing TV and radio commercials and posting ads on billboards and mass transit vehicles.

Simpson initially denied the request for a preliminary injunction in August, saying the plaintiffs did not show that “disenfranchisement was immediate or inevitable.” But after an appeal, the Supreme Court directed him to use a much tougher standard for tolerating voter disenfranchisement.

Pennsylvania’s new law is among the toughest in the nation. The prior law required identification only for people voting in a polling place for the first time and it allowed nonphoto documents such as utility bills or bank statements. The new law requires each voter to show a particular form of photo ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, active duty military identification, nursing home ID or college student ID.

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