The Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee has put together a website it says will help voters find out whether they could have problems meeting the state's new voter ID laws. When voters ask for help, their information is sent out to Democratic campaigns.
Visitors to the site can enter their name to find out whether they're on what the site calls "Corbett's List." That's the list of names generated when the Department of Transportation did a rough cross-reference of driver's license-holders with the voter registration lists.
If voters are on the list as not having ID and they ask for help, the Pennsylvania HDCC doesn't send them to the (bipartisan) Voter ID Coalition or election officials such as the Philadelphia Commissioner's office. It sends their information to the Democrat running for a state House seat in their district.
Daniel Schwarz, the Communications director for the House Democratic Campaign Committee, says in elections decided by incredibly small margins, it's appropriate to take steps to make sure everyone can cast their ballot.
"We can ... notify candidates in the local races that there are voters in their area that could be denied," said Schwarz. "They can then get in touch with them and help provide them with information or help register them or whatever might prevent them from voting on election day, to help them deal with that issue."
A privacy statement on the site says the use of the personal information will be limited:
The Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee respects the privacy of CorbettsList.comusers and promises not to divulge personal information collected. Information taken to verify a user’s name on Corbett’s List will not be used, shared, or sold without the express permission of said user.
State Rep. Mike O'Brien (D-Philadelphia) appears on the list of people the site says "can be denied at the polls." In all likelihood, he's on the list because his name has an apostrophe. The two systems that were compared don't handle apostrophes the same way. He says he's sure he'll be able to vote. But he doesn't take issue with the site.
"The message that I'm driving is take the moment and make sure you're OK," said O'Brien.
Democrats and Republicans in O'Brien's districts are receiving fliers with information on the voter ID law. It tells voters to call his office.