HARRISBURG -- Challengers of Pennsylvania's voter ID law brought in an expert statistician to affirm the credibility of a year-old study that found 14.4 percent of eligible voters lacked acceptable identification.
Survey statistician David Marker testified in Commonwealth Court on Wednesday, the third day of trial, that the methodology was sound in a study the challengers commissioned last summer. The study concluded there were voters across the state who did not have an acceptable form of identification, particularly those who are poor, female, young, old and lacking in education.
The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups hope to overturn the voter ID requirement that was signed into law March 2012. Last summer, Judge Robert Simpson ruled in favor of the state law, partially due to state efforts to offer residents free IDs good only for voting.
In his opinion, Judge Simpson cited concerns with the study, including the potential for oversampling and the response rate.
In September, the state Supreme Court sent the case back to Judge Simpson, who then suspended the requirements for the November 2012 elections.
Mr. Marker testified that even if the judge's concerns were taken into consideration, the overall estimate of eligible voters without acceptable ID would lower only slightly.
An attorney for the state, Alicia Hickok, asked the judge to disregard Mr. Marker's testimony because, she said, questions in the study did not accurately reflect the voter ID law and that any conclusions drawn from it have become outdated since the number of eligible voters is always changing.
Judge Bernard McGinley, who is presiding in this round, denied her request.
The study, conducted by University of Washington professor Matt Barreto, was presented last July during a hearing that sought to overturn the voter ID law. Judge Simpson wrote in his opinion that he was concerned about Mr. Barreto's study because of its design and execution, namely, its assertions that voters were unaware of photo ID requirements and its failure to identify individuals who would need to be contacted for public outreach and education efforts.
On Tuesday, statistician Bernard Siskin testified more than 500,000 Pennsylvanians lacked a driver's license or other Department of Transportation identification that can be used at the polls.
A spokesman for Gov. Tom Corbett's general counsel said statistics presented by the challengers are irrelevant because voters without eligible IDs have access to obtaining an acceptable form of ID.
Megan Rogers is an intern with the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents Association.