Thursday, July 26, 2012

Voter ID Day 2

The second day of trial began with Judge Simpson bemoaning the inexorable progression of time, denoted by Mick Jagger's 69th birthday. The rest of the morning was spent with witness Matt Baretto, an expert in survey science and barriers to elections from the University of Washington in Seattle. Baretto conducted a survey in June and early July, contracted by ACLU-PA, to measure the impact of the state's new voter ID requirements.

The survey, which is available in full for review online, tried first to determine how many Pennsylvanians believe they have the required documentation to vote in November, and then to verify how many actually do have the required documentation. From there, it went on to answer other questions, like how many people without a qualifying ID have the backup documents they would need to obtain one, and how many have access to a vehicle or public transportation.

During morning questioning, Baretto also raised the issue of "substantial conformity," the requirement that the name on an individual's ID card match his or her name on election rolls. The trouble is that no guidelines exist for determining "substantial conformity," which means it may come down to the subjective opinion of each individual poll worker. On the stand, Baretto said his sense was that "Anyone who's name is not an exact match is at risk" of being turned away.

Follow @aclupa on Twitter and on Facebook for periodic updates throughout the day. We aren't allowed any electronic devices inside the courtroom, so updates tend to come in bursts whenever there's a break.

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