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Voter Rights Advocates Using Election To Collect Data On Voter ID Law

Voting booths (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

Voting booths (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

Gregg_Cherrie--NEW Cherri Gregg
Cherri Gregg is the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsr...
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By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Pennsylvania’s voter ID law was blocked for this November, but there’s a real chance the law will be in effect in future elections. Voting rights advocates want to use November 6th to test the real world impact of the law on voters.

Figures estimating the number of voters without ID range from 90,000 on the low end to more than a million, leaving the key questions in the case — how many voters could be disenfranchised if voter ID is the law of the land — unanswered.

“If I were a judge I would certainly want to know that answer and, as a the Secretary of the Commonwealth, I certainly want to get a better grasp of the numbers,” Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele told reporters at a press conference on October 4th at Temple University.  She says the state could conduct a survey, but it has no plans to do so on November 6th.

“There are going to be enough questions without adding this as another layer,” she said.

Judge Robert Simpson is expected to continue hearings on the voter ID law in December to determine whether the law will be blocked permanently. City Commissioner Stephanie Singer says data shedding light on the number of voters who lack ID could be critical to the future of the voter ID law.

“Somebody ought to use November 6th to nail that down and I’m hoping it’s the city of Philadelphia,” says Singer.  “It’s the perfect opportunity because it’s an election that has a lot of press and a lot of people that will be coming out to vote.”

Singer says voters need to contact their elected officials to let them know how crucial this information is.

“Let Mayor Nutter know,” she says. “Tell the other commissioners if you want us to gather this information.”

Committee of Seventy President Zack Stalberg says his group is planning to conduct exit polls on November 6th.

“We’ll be asking people probably as they leave the polls whether they were asked for ID and we’ll be asking, trying to get a better sense of who really did have ID and how many people really need it going forward,” says Stalberg.

He says effectiveness of that effort will depend on the number of volunteers available.  He says they need anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 volunteers to cover polls in Philadelphia and surrounding areas.

For more info or to volunteer, go to Seventy.org.

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