Many of the 750,000+ people on the list of Pennsylvanians who are registered to vote but lack driver’s licenses have, or can easily obtain, other forms of identification. Others may be on the list in error. For example, Pennsylvania’s U.S. senator running for re-election campaigns as Bob Casey. But his official Senate website says his name is Robert P. Casey, Jr. If he uses the same colloquialism on his driver’s license and the formal name on his voter registration, he’d be on the list. But he’d still be allowed to vote at the polls when he shows his valid photo ID.
But some of the people on that list are there for justifiable reasons. According to the state, 167,566 people on the list — over 22 percent — haven’t voted since 2007. If they don’t respond to their letter, they go on an “inactive” list. If they don’t vote in the next two federal elections, they can legitimately be removed. These inactive voters may be people who died or moved — thus explaining why there is no longer a corresponding valid driver’s license. If that’s the case, these invalid registrations are tempting targets for identity thieves whose criminal acts nullify the votes of legitimate voters.
For the media and opponents of ballot box protections to claim that over 750,000 Pennsylvania voters may not get to vote this November because they lack a driver’s license is alarmist and misrepresents the provisions of the new voter ID law. Weakening such identity protections would only play into the hands of those who mean to steal votes and improperly subvert the electoral process.
David Almasi is the executive director of The National Center for Public Policy Research, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.