Pennsylvania's new voter ID law has been getting a lot of national media attention this week, especially since a state-generated report found that as many as a quarter of a million Pennsylvania voters could be disenfranchised in November because they don't possess the proper identification.
Take that number with a grain of salt. About 22 percent of those are considered to be "inactive" voters. That is, they haven't voted in quite a while. Some others could possess acceptable forms of identification other than drivers licenses or PennDOT-issued photo IDs.
Still, the number the state came up with by cross-referencing voter rolls with Department of Transportation records on drivers licenses and PennDOT-issued IDs was significantly higher than many people expected, more than 8 percent of the more than 8 million registered voters in the state.
Meanwhile, the number of convictions of voter fraud in Pennsylvania over the past five years - the problem proponents of voter ID frequently cite as the impetus for the law - is significantly lower than many ID backers would have you believe: 0.
Nevertheless, the law is the law, and we are told by Republican legislators in the House and Senate and the governor that their motives are pure. This will protect the integrity of the ballot booth in Pennsylvania.
It's all part of the good work the legislature has done over the past year, according to House Republican leader Mike Turzai.
"We are focused on making sure that we meet our obligations that we've talked about for years," Turzai said in June, according to Politics PA. "Pro-Second Ammendment? The Castle Doctrine, it's done. First pro-life legislation - abortion facility regulations - in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done."
Turzai's spokesman Stephen Miskin, coming to his boss's defense, said Turzai was speaking at a partisan event and only meant that the Republican candidate would be competing on a more even field. But that's not much of a defense against the charge that most of those disenfranchised are thought to be supportive of someone other than Mr. Romney.
Partisanship, we are told, was never considered when the General Assembly set out to protect Pennsylvania's legitimate voters from the legions of phonies who queue up every election day in Pennsylvania.