Pennsylvania’s top elections official says the new voter identification law will increase turnout in the state and not suppress voters as many opponents claim.
Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele, during a visit to a Pittsburgh-area high school Wednesday, said state officials are doing “the most aggressive public relations campaign this state has ever seen” to educate voters on the new photo ID law, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
She also predicted the Nov. 6 election would be “the biggest voter turnout we’ve ever had in Pennsylvania.”
The voter ID measure, backed by Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, was approved in March by the GOP-controlled General Assembly without Democratic support. But opponents are still hoping to reverse it in the courts.
The state Supreme Court was scheduled to hold a hearing on the law Thursday.
For her part, Aichele, a former math teacher, told the students Wednesday she was simply trying to do her job of enforcing the law without regard to politics.
"I'm just working so that when we wake up [the day after the election], whoever is declared the winner is in fact the winner. I don't want another Florida in Pennsylvania," she said, referring to the 2000 presidential race when the U.S. Supreme Court had to settle a controversial ballot dispute in Florida, a decision that ended up putting Republican George W. Bush in the White House.
If the Supreme Court upholds the law, Pennsylvania voters who show up at the polls on Nov. 6 will have to show a state-issued voter’s photo ID, a valid driver’s license, passport, or other photo ID marked with an expiration date.
People without a state-approved ID will still be allowed to cast a provisional ballot, but they will have to produce appropriate identification to local elections officials within six days after the election for their votes to count.
Complicating the state Supreme Court's decision is the fact that three Democrats and three Republicans sit on the high bench. A tie vote would uphold the law.
Opponents of the new law say it is aimed at helping Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the presidential race by disenfranchising the poor and the elderly, many of whom may not have the appropriate credentials to qualify for an ID.
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