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PENNSYLVANIANS will be able to vote in this spring's primary election without being compelled to show ID under terms of the new law still being challenged in court. (However, the old law still applies and requires ID to be shown by new voters or ones appearing at a different polling place.) A lawsuit challenging the constitutional validity of the new law will be heard in July, which is why the parties to the suit have agreed that the May 21 primary can proceed under the old rules. The new voter ID law has been the source of confusion and controversy and the Republican lawmakers who supported it will be glad of a chance for tempers to cool.

IN THE EARLY '80s, a perky pop song by Tommy Tutone infected everybody's ears while shooting up the charts. His song was about a girl named Jenny and her phone number -- 867-5309. If you remember that, you may be more sympathetic to the news that this region is going to have a new area code, 878, to go along with 412 and 724. The Public Utility Commission announced the coming of 878 earlier this month, although the new area code was assigned to Western Pennsylvania more than a decade ago for future use. That time is now. The 412 and 724 numbers are in short supply and in danger of running out -- so 878 is being sent to the rescue. The good news is that current customers will keep their existing area codes. The better news is that the new area code is not as complicated as Jenny's old number.

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