As many as 5 million voters, most of them potential Democrats, might find themselves barred from voting in November because of new ID laws in some states.
Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney holds a narrow edge in the popular polls, but needs to win at least four critical “swing states” in order to gain the need majority of electoral college votes, which are allocated to each state based on population and on a “winner take all” basis.
The new ID laws, mostly in states with GOP legislatures, will affect young voters, most of whom are Democrats. They include the key states of Virginia as well as others, the London-based Financial Times reported.
A case in point is Pennsylvania, which is considered “safe” for Obama and which he won by 600,000 votes in 2008. State officials report that more than 750,000 registered voters – representing more than 9 percent of the total voters – do not have required forms for identification, such as a driving license.
The Republican leader of Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives flatly admitted in a recent speech to the party, “Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”
“There is certainly the potential for very serious outcomes,” Keesha Gaskins, of New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice, told the newspaper.
The new ID laws also affect many elderly voters, three of whom are publicly challenging the new law, and the U.S. Justice Department already has disqualified new ID laws in at least four states because they would disproportionately affect Hispanic voters.