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Under pressure, student ID was allowed, but only if colleges affix tens of thousands of stickers with expiration dates. No out-of-state college ID is valid, even for students on the Pennsylvania voter rolls.
What an inspiring message for young people, whose only offense is that they tend to vote Democratic.
Barack Obama carried Pennsylvania by 10 percentage points in 2008, but some polls show him up by only five points this time around. Pennsylvania might now be in play. If it goes for Mitt Romney, it's hard to see how he loses the election.
Although Obama campaign officials say they aren't worried yet, they're making contingency plans for a huge voter outreach program. "We will pursue all legal remedies but we cannot and will not depend on legal action alone," Bob Bauer, the counsel to the campaign, told me.
Obama field organizers are hoping that this grim news will pump up volunteers, who will show residents how to obtain valid ID and register more people in the process. But many of the hundreds of thousands of endangered voters are presumed to be elderly, and it won't be easy getting them to a PennDOT office to obtain a new card.
This election isn't just Democrats versus Republicans. It's about whether we want more democracy or less.
Jonathan Alter is a Bloomberg View columnist and the author of "The Promise: President Obama, Year One."
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.