2012 Elections: News, Analysis, Videos, and Breaking on the Presidential Election, Local Elections, and More

2012 Elections: News, Analysis, Videos, and Breaking on the Presidential Election, Local Elections, and More

Complete coverage of the 2012 election

Closing Arguments at Pa. Voter ID Hearing

Judge plans to issue a ruling by late Aug. on the possible fate of the new photo ID requirement for the Nov. 6 election

Thursday, Aug 2, 2012  |  Updated 8:26 PM EDT
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Senior Citizens Face Voter ID Controversy

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BETHEL TOWNSHIP, PA - APRIL 24: Voters leave voting booths after casting ballots during the Pa. Republican primary election at Bethel Springs Elementary School. Closing arguments on Thursday are wrapping up a seven day court hearing on the voter photo ID law which is scheduled to take effect on election day, Nov. 6. (Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images)

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'Voter Fraud Impacts Elections:' Al Schmidt

A recent report on alleged voter fraud in Philadelphia was released just as controversy rages over Pennsylvania's new voter photo ID law. Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt (R) has raised concerns about instances of voter irregularities in city elections dating back to 2007. He says "whether it's voter fraud or a mistake, they all impact the outcome of elections equally."

Who May Be Turned Away From Voting?

In recent weeks state and city election administrators have been compiling data on how many voters may potentially be impacted by not having the proper photo ID required to vote in the Decision 2012 Nov. general election. The Philadelphia estimate shows as many as 186,830 voters, or 18%, of those registered in the city, may currently be without the needed documents. Philadelphia City Commissioners Chair Stephanie Singer (D) is studying the figures and ways to educate voters.
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Update: The one thing both sides agreed on as a hearing on Pennsylvania's new voter-identification law ended is that each will appeal a ruling for the other side.

A lawyer for plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking to bar the law from taking effect on Election Day said in closing arguments Thursday that more than 1 million voters lack a valid photo ID.

Vic Walczak of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania said many may be unable to vote because they don't understand the new photo ID requirement or cannot get an ID in time.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Patrick Cawley said the Legislature had broad latitude in writing election laws.

Cawley urged Judge Robert Simpson to let the law stand and allow the continuation of campaigns to educate voters.

Closing arguments are the only unfinished business in a Commonwealth Court hearing on Pennsylvania's new voter-identification law.

Lawyers in the case are scheduled to make their final summations Thursday before Judge Robert Simpson. The judge plans to issue his ruling later this month.

More than two dozen witnesses have testified during the seven-day hearing, including state elections officials, individual voters, a pollster and an expert on election fraud.

Republicans in the Legislature passed the bill earlier this year without a single Democratic vote.

Democrats contend that the law is a political scheme to suppress voting by minorities, senior citizens and others with the objective of giving GOP nominee-apparent Mitt Romney an edge over Democratic incumbent Barack Obama, who carried the state in 2008.

Click here for the Pennsylvania voter ID website.

Click here for the PennDOT voter ID website.

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