Confusion over Pennsylvania's new voter-identification law is likely to cause chaos at many polling places in Philadelphia, including longer-than-usual lines and shorter tempers as more voters are forced to choose between casting a provisional ballot and not being able to vote, a city elections official said Wednesday.
"I'm anticipating a mess on Election Day," deputy city commissioner Jorge Santana testified at a Commonwealth Court hearing on whether the law should take effect as scheduled on Nov. 6. "I anticipate a lot of problems, a lot of tension, a lot of stress on the voters."
(...) The Philadelphia City Commission, which runs elections in the state's largest city, is working with community groups to educate voters about the law, but state rule changes aimed at making easier for voters to get IDs have complicated that training, Santana said. The commission filed a brief supporting the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
Voters who show up at the polls without a valid ID — a PennDOT-issued driver's license or non-driver ID or any of several alternatives — may cast a provisional ballot but have to provide a proper ID to local election officials within six days for their votes to count.
Santana said officials plan to have about 200,000 provisional ballots on hand at polling places in the general election — more than 20 times as many as were counted in the 2008 presidential election. The city has slightly more than 1 million registered voters.
"A lot of people are not going to have the type of ID that's needed," he said.
Another concern is how many of Philadelphia's 8,000-plus poll workers will take advantage of voluntary training about the new law. Santana estimated that "at best, 20 percent" of those people will get the training.
The State Department is developing a voter ID law manual that it plans to send to all of the state's poll workers — about 60,000 people — by late August.
"This is the first time the department has reached out individually to the poll workers," department spokesman Nick Winkler said.¿Tendrá Rocky preparada su identificación con foto?