Pennsylvania Judge Robert Simpson recently ruled that the state’s Voter ID law could be implemented in time for Election Day (Source). The judge reportedly stated that the petitioners had not established that disenfranchisement as a result of the law would be inevitable or immediate. You can read his opinion here [pdf].
nowwithbmiller states, “Ladies and gentleman, this is how Mitt Romney will win the race.” I’m sure this a common sentiment among many, and one that I have seen expressed here, on Twitter and other media outlets; however, it’s not really an accurate assessment of the effects of the Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law.
Regardless of what partisans on either side think, this isn’t likely to help Romney much in turning Pennsylvania into a swing state, as we can see from Nate Silver’s recent post on the subject, which I discussed last month. At this time, I will quote some of Silver’s observations.
On sensational reporting vs accurate reporting of Voter ID law effects:
News media accounts, like some of those about the new voter ID laws in Pennsylvania, sometimes seize on the most dramatic estimates of the effects of these laws — rather than the most accurate ones.
On the possible effect in 2012:
Pennsylvania, for instance, went from having no voter ID laws to a strict photo ID requirement. Based on the academic studies, I estimate that this will reduce turnout by about 2.4 percent as a share of registered voters. And based on my formula to convert changes in turnout to changes in the popular vote, I estimate that this would reduce President Obama’s margin against Mitt Romney by a net of 1.2 percentage points.
On what this effect means:
The effects of the adjustment are ultimately fairly minor. In Pennsylvania, for instance, it reduced Mr. Obama’s chances of winning the state to 82.6 percent from 84.2 percent, according to the model’s estimate. Still, it makes Pennsylvania a little closer, and slightly increases the chance that it will be the tipping point state in the election.
Long story short: there could be a potential reduction in turnout of 2.4 percent of registered voters [198,535 voters (Source)]; however, this does not significantly increase Romney’s chances of winning the state, and any potential reduction in turnout can be offset by provisional balloting, etc.