Philly Official Predicts Election Day 'Mess'

The Pa. voter ID court hearing, in its sixth day, heard testimony from a Philadelphia elections official who predicted chaos at the polls on election day Nov. 6. Closing arguments in the case are scheduled for Thursday. NBC10Philadelphia

A Philadelphia elections official says Pennsylvania's new voter-identification law is likely to create an Election Day “mess” in the state's largest city.

Jorge Santana, a deputy city commissioner, testified at a Commonwealth Court hearing Wednesday that confusion over the new photo ID requirement and the refusal of many poll workers to get training on the law will create chaos and tensions at many polling places.

Lorraine Minnite, an expert in election fraud, testified that voter impersonation -- the type of fraud targeted by the law -- is “exceedingly rare.”

Minnite, a professor at Rutgers-Camden, was the final witness in a six-day hearing on a lawsuit seeking to block the law from taking effect for the Decision 2012 general election on Nov. 6.

Closing arguments in the case are scheduled for Thursday.

A Philadelphia state lawmaker said Wednesday he’s “outraged” by the number of senior citizens in his district alone who may not be able to vote.

“The numbers not only demonstrate the impact of the new law on our aging population, but it also reinforces the need to assist seniors so that they are able to vote on Election Day,” said Pa. First District State Sen. Larry Farnese (D).

Farnese cited statistics compiled by the AFL-CIO and reported by The figures estimate (using figures for those without a PennDot ID or license) out of 189,516 registered voters, that 39.6 percent don’t have ID and for seniors the figure is 49.6 percent.

The district covers portions of the city’s river wards, Center City and South Philadelphia.

“While we await the outcome of the court battle that could strike down the law, I am committed to helping ensure that all registered voters in my district have the proper ID so that they can cast their ballot on this Election Day,” said Farnese.