HARRISBURG - The battle over Pennsylvania's voter identification law touched on familiar themes Tuesday as the state concluded its case after almost three weeks of testimony.
Witnesses for the Department of State testified for several hours detailing the extent to which they worked to make information about the law widely known - including reaching out to the elderly, veterans groups, the homeless, and immigrant communities - to ensure residents without ID would understand the steps needed to get it.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs questioned the same officials about the wide range of difficulties voters encountered and the disparity in estimates on how many remain without proper ID.
Closing arguments are expected Wednesday.
Jonathan Marks, a top elections official in the Department of State, confirmed that only 3,800 free voting-only IDs have been issued since they were made available a year ago.
An additional 12,000 PennDot nondrivers' IDs were issued.
At the same time, estimates of the total number of voters still without ID are as low as 89,000 and as high as 1.2 million, he said.
American Civil Liberties Union legal director Witold Walczak, representing the petitioners, demonstrated the burdens facing those without their own vehicles by using Marks' own community.
Marks said he lives in Liverpool, north of Harrisburg, while the closest Department of Transportation driver's license center is in Elizabethville, across the Susquehanna River. It is open only one day a week and reachable directly only by seasonal ferry.
Otherwise, someone would have to travel a circuitous 34-mile route taking nearly an hour to reach Elizabethville by road.
Marks said his polling place in Liverpool is only a block from his house.
A second witness, Megan Sweeney, special assistant to Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele, oversaw the public information campaign that worked with colleges and nursing homes to ensure their photo IDs had expiration dates as required under law.
Most Pennsylvania colleges offer such ID, according to a state list, but the state has done no similar survey to determine how many nursing homes issue valid IDs.