Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, is a strong defender of his state's voter ID provision. (Mario Tama/Getty Images News)

The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation of Pennsylvania’s new voter-ID law, which would bar anyone without a photo identification from casting a ballot in this year’s elections.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “a letter delivered Monday to Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele, the Justice Department sought a series of databases and other records that have raised questions about the number of registered voters with proper ID, and left county election boards and the public bewildered about the impact of the new voting requirements.”

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The story adds, “The items requested by the federal government include the state’s complete voter-registration list – identifying the state’s 8.2 million voters by their names and addresses, dates of birth, party affiliations, and voting histories – and the state Transportation Department’s full list of people holding driver’s licenses and non-driver photo IDs, the most common form of photo identification that will meet the demands of the state’s new voting law.”

Civil rights groups are suing to have the law struck down, as an estimated 758,000 voters statewide, about 9.2 percent of the electorate, currently don’t have a driver’s license or other photo ID issued by the state’s Department of Transportation.