Pennsylvania is one of a dozen states that have passed new laws requiring photo identification to cast a vote. The Justice Department is requiring the state to prove that the law does not violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits voting requirements that would disproportionately impact minorities.
In a letter sent Monday to Carol Aichele, acting secretary of the Commonwealth, the Justice Department asked the state to hand over the complete voter registration list, including voter history and race of registered voters and the current Pennsylvania driver license and ID list.
The Justice Department is also asking documents supporting Gov. Tom Corbett's March 2012 statement that "99 percent of Pennsylvania's eligible voters already have acceptable photo ID." The department also wants documentation supporting the state's assessment that 758,000 registered voters lack appropriate identification.
Republicans in Pennsylvania and in states across the country are pushing for stricter voter ID laws, saying it will prevent voter fraud. Most Democrats, meanwhile, say the laws disenfranchise voters, especially minorities who are more likely to lack a state-issued ID.
In a separate challenge brought by advocacy groups, a Pennsylvania appellate court will hear challenges to the law on Wednesday.
The Justice Department already blocked South Carolina and Texas from implementing voter ID laws.