Opponents of voter-ID legislation are fighting such laws in over ten states, but much of their attention has recently focused on Pennsylvania. This week, a state judge refused to block a new law requiring ID at the polls and increasing security measures for absentee ballots from taking effect this November. The political stakes couldn’t be higher.
A new poll from Franklin & Marshall College shows that Barack Obama’s lead over Mitt Romney in the Keystone State has fallen to five points (47 percent to 42 percent). Obama led Romney by 48 percent to 36 percent in the last F&M poll in June. An incumbent president without majority support in a state at this point in the race is in danger of not being able to catch up. If Pennsylvania went Republican, it could decide the presidency — after all, the state hasn’t voted for the GOP at the presidential level since 1988, and it has 20 electoral votes.
In 2004, John Kerry edged out George W. Bush by only 150,000 votes out of 5.7 million cast. Kerry’s victory was built on an enormous margin in Philadelphia, where he won 81 percent of the vote, giving him an edge of 412,000 votes. Republicans have long suspected that voter fraud regularly occurs in Philadelphia. In the 1990s, a Philadelphia election that determined control of the state senate was thrown out by a federal judge because of massive fraud.