Of the Legal Staff
As Pennsylvania’s voter identification law goes into effect Tuesday – without enforcement of its key provision after a Commonwealth Court decision last month – Philadelphia city officials put out the message that while judges of election can ask for photo IDs, non-first-time voters can’t be required to present IDs in order to vote.
Even before the new voter ID law was passed, first-time voters needed to show some form of identification.
District Attorney Seth Williams said 60 members of his staff will be available to respond in mobile units to any type of reports of voter intimidation or other problems. A county detective and a prosecutor will be paired to respond to such reports, Williams said at a press conference today.
Williams said his office will prosecute charges, if appropriate, such as assault, vote fraud, harassment, terroristic threats and voter intimidation. Voters can make complaints to the District Attorney’s Office by calling 215-686-9641, 215-686-9643, 215-686-9644 or 215-686-9884, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The Committee of Seventy’s Zack Stalberg said it likely will be a “messy” election. “We’re talking about a race neck-and-neck” between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, Stalberg said. “Additionally, we’re talking about a state that has seemed to move back to the swing state category.”
Any election-related questions from across Pennsylvania can be made by calling 1-866-687-8683, according to the Committee of Seventy.
City Commissioner Stephanie Singer, chairwoman of the office that runs elections for Philadelphia, said that, despite rumors to the contrary, Philadelphia voters can opt for a straight-party ticket and have their vote for all of the candidates from that party counted. There is a straight-ticket option available to those who wish to vote solely for Democrats, Republicans, Greens, independents or Libertarians.