State-level identification laws, requiring voters to show government-issued photo IDs at polls, are a nationwide Republican strategy to hinder voting by blacks, Latinos, oldsters, college students, the disabled and other lower-income people who are least likely to have driver licenses -- and are most likely to vote Democratic. GOP claims that the statutes deter election fraud are a phony pretext. Across America, these new laws are being challenged in court.
Pennsylvania's ID law was dealt a temporary blow Tuesday. A judge ruled that, for the Nov. 6 election only, voters without IDs may cast ballots. But the requirement will take effect in future elections, the judge decided.
A GOP leader of Pennsylvania's legislature, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, bragged to party insiders during the summer that the new ID law "is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania." We wonder if the judge's ruling will alter the brazen political scheme.
The Philadelphia Inquirer declared Wednesday that the ruling is inadequate, and the new law -- "a painful attack on democracy" -- should be thrown out entirely. "The legislature should repeal this throwback to the days of Jim Crow."
This tangled mess shows the intensity of America's political battling. Every possible ploy is being pulled in frantic efforts to win.
Various other factors have potential to sway the Nov. 6 presidential outcome. Here are a few of them:
• Citizens United case -- A controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling by conservative justices allowed corporations and millionaires to funnel millions into campaign ads -- mostly smears against Democrats. Will the TV blitz have significant effect? Or have most voters already decided their choices, and they'll ignore the barrage?
• Women's vote -- A new national poll released Tuesday found that likely women voters strongly support President Obama over Republican challenger Mitt Romney, 56 percent to 38 percent. This 18-point gap hardly is surprising, since the GOP platform would jail women and girls who terminate pregnancies, and the GOP regularly fights proposals mandating equal pay for females.
• Black voters -- Tuesday's poll found blacks supporting Obama by an astounding 94-2 ratio. No wonder GOP state legislators are trying feverishly to obstruct voting by this racial segment.
• Less-educated whites -- A New York Times poll last month found that white Americans without college degrees prefer Romney strongly, 57-37. This inclination is even greater among blue-collar rural males in the South and lower-income white evangelicals.These and various other factors -- including the large percentage of Americans who don't vote -- will shape the Nov. 6 outcome. As we've said often, West Virginia seems destined to remain in the "red state" Republican category, but we hope that more urban Americans in other states choose the progressive-minded Democratic Party.