Philadelphia residents line up for Voter IDs as new law places barriers to voting rights
Effective last Monday, PennDOT began issuing a new photo voter-id card valid for the upcoming Nov. 6 General Election.
It is valid only for voting purposes, say state officials.
Residents no longer will be required to produce a birth certificate with a raised seal. Now voters will have show up at a PennDOT office with their name, address, Social Security number, proof of residency and previous name and/or address if it has changed in the past year.
The Voter ID Coalition has opened a hotline for questions and information 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).
Last week, volunteers from labor unions and community groups gathered at PennDot offices in Philadelphia to help eligible voters get the photo identification required to vote in the upcoming election. Groups participating included PA VOICE, Action United, Project Home, NAACP and SEIU.
Residents faced long lines and wait times to get the voter ID cards available under a new program that inadequately seeks to remedy the widespread disenfranchisement caused by the voter ID law. Under the voter ID law, more than 700,000 eligible voters in Pennsylvania lack the proper identification to vote.
Philadelphia resident Doris Clark finally obtained her ID after months of failed attempts and multiple trips to government offices. “It took me from June 6 until today for me to get my ID. I went back to PennDot four times and I almost gave up. They were about to mm me away again, but I don’t give up and I don’t give in. I got my ID and I’m going to vote,” said dark.
To date, here has never been a case of in person voter fraud successfully prosecuted in Pennsylvania. Defenders of the law could not find a single example when they argued their case before the court. This law is a solution in search of a problem and a blatant attack on the fundamental right to vote.
“The work we’re out here doing today is key to empowering those in our community who would be denied their fundamental right to vote simply because they don’t have a photo ID. While we may disagree with the law requiring photo ID at the voting booth, we need to do everything in our power to help as many eligible voters as possible get their IDs so they can participate in our democracy,” said John Jordan, Director of Civic Engagement for the Pennsylvania NAACP.