Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter is waging a campaign both inside and outside City Hall to combat voter disenfranchisement in Pennsylvania, the Democratic mayor told Chris Matthews on Tuesday's Hardball. He's not just using the power of the bully pulpit to fight Pennsylvania's voter ID law; he's also using his power as mayor to mitigate the law's effect.
"My focus, our focus here in the city, city government: Utilizing every resource we can for all voters, is to make sure every eligible voter has the information they need," he said. "We're printing up materials. We're issuing new IDs. We'll soon be issuing new IDs to all of our public employees, because municipal governments have to put an expiration date on their city employee IDs."
Nutter also identified himself as a member of the voter education coalition fronted by the Pennsylvania non-profit Committee of Seventy. "We're encouraging folks to be a part of this coalition," Nutter said. The coalition is working to ensure that Pennsylvania residents without voter ID know exactly what they need to do in order to be legally eligible to vote on Election Day.
Pennsylvania's voter ID legislation could disenfranchise as many as 785,000 people, mostly minorities and students, in Nutter's city. A coalition of opponents to the law have challenged it in court, and though that challenge failed in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, it will now be appealed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Earlier this month, Lean Forward's Alex P. Kellogg and Evan Puschak visited inner-city Philadelphia to talk to some of the city residents who would be affected by the law.