Voter ID Issues Could Be Worst In Pennsylvania

Voter ID issues could swing Pennsylvania in Mitt Romney's favor.

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People vote in the Pennsylvania primary at J & L'S Fresh & Silk's flower shop in Philadelphia, Tuesday, April 22, 2008.

The Associated Press reports Monday that new voter identification laws could block thousands of Americans from voting this fall.

As part of its investigation, the AP examined voting in the 2008 general election in Indiana and Georgia, where it found more than 1,200 votes were thrown out.

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But the state that could be worst affected in 2012, a voters rights group tells Whispers, is the swing state of Pennsylvania.

Last week, Pennsylvania officials released new data that estimated 750,000 voters who don't have photo IDs could be impacted by new voter identification laws.

Marcia F. Johnson-Blanco, co-director of the Voting Rights Project, said that number makes sense. And she notes that the groups most affected by the law will be Pennsylvania's minorities and elderly–voters that most often for Democrats.

A number of voter ID laws were introduced over the last two years by Republicans who cited problems of voter fraud. Those laws now exist in more than two dozen states. But Democrats say the laws are intended to hurt their voter base.

While recent polls favor President Obama in Pennsylvania, for example, the state's House Majority Leader, Republican Rep. Mike Turzai, recently commented that the state's new law "is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania."

Pennsylvania Senator Daylin Leach worries that Turzai could be right. Leach told Whispers "the thing about Rep Turzai's statement is that he was telling the truth."

"The urgent need to pass these laws in an election year is no accident," Leach said. "In a close race [this fall], 300,000 lost votes could make all the difference."

Johnson-Blanco is similarly skeptical, saying that Republicans have been unable to show there is a problem with voter fraud in Pennsylvania or elsewhere.

"If they aren't able to show there is a problem," she asked, "why are these states enacting laws that will keep eligible voters from voting?"

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  • Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at eflock@usnews.com or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.