‘No one will be disenfranchised,’ vows top Pa. elections official

    State officials have discovered that more Pennsylvania voters than they thought don’t have photo identification issued by PennDOT, possibly jeopardizing their ability to vote this November.

    Nonetheless, the state’s top elections official isn’t backing away from the voter ID law.

    Implementing the voter law has come with a number of unexpected challenges. But Commonwealth Secretary Carol Aichele says the state can handle them all before the general election.

    “No one will be disenfranchised in Pennsylvania,” she said Wednesday. “No one.”

    Numbers from the Department of State show more than 750,000 registered voters in the commonwealth don’t have a driver’s or non-driving photo ID issued by PennDOT.

    But Aichele says those numbers may overstate the problem, due to the difficulty of matching names in different databases.

    And when asked if she thinks issuing more free IDs than originally planned could break her budget, she tells a story.

    The state’s own employee cards lack necessary information to be acceptable at the polls, Aichele explains, so the Department of State offered new photo IDs to state workers.

    “I’m kind of surprised,” she said. “Eighty-thousand employees in Pennsylvania, 39 people needed it. And we’re not even sure they needed it. They just wanted it.”

    She says the state has issued fewer than 3,000 IDs to people who need them to vote, and has funding for 100,000, total.

    Meanwhile, colleges and universities have had to tweak their student IDs to make them ballot-acceptable. And the ACLU’s challenge of the voter ID law will have a court hearing next week.

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