Getting voter ID may be difficult
WLWh D OLWWOH OHVV WhDQ WwR PRQWhV WR EOHFWLRQ DDy, VWDWH RIficials and local nonpartisan voter groups are working feverishly to educate voters about Pennsylvania’s new soter ID law.
The Department of State is about to send out postcards to S million households and launch a media campaign to alert voters of the need to bring a valid photo ID to the polls Nov. S in order for their vote to be counted. The state iegislature adopted the new rule with a oepublican majority vote split along partiVDQ OLQHV LQ MDUFh, PDNLQJ 3HQQVyOvDQLD RQH RI fivH VWDWHV wLWh the most restrictive voter-access laws.
The law is being challenged in the state Supreme Court — the hearing is Sept. 1P — and is the subject of a federal Department of gustice investigation.
jeanwhileI many are pushing information out to groups who may not have valid IDs — elderly who no longer driveI low-income or urban voters who never had a driver’s license and young voters whose only photo card may be a high school ,D QRW FHUWDLQ WR EH FRQVLGHUHG vDOLG Ey HOHFWLRQV RIfiFLDOV.
The education effortI howeverI does not make getting a photo ID easier.
“... cranklyI I think gob might have had an easier timeI” said iower jerion elections inspector Adrian Seltzer in a recent presentation at an area seniors center. “The amount of paperwork and confusion that surrounds this issue is monumental.”
SeltzerI a Democrat who is the majority inspector in her wardI said she is making the rounds as a volunteerI not with a political agenda but to help people navigate the new law. cor those who have an IDI it’s not a problem to get a new one. But voters who have not had a valid driver’s license or photo ID in several years will have to “jump through hoopsI” she said.
While the state is working to accommodate requestsI the process can be time consuming. Testimony from local people who have acquired IDs say it can take as long as two days of travel and paperwork.
What we are witnessing is an effort to make the IDs available in more placesI the latest being driver licensing centersI but none of the places are necessarily convenient to the groups who most need them. An elderly or poor voter who does not have a car may have no easy way to get to the center. Add to WhDW WhH ORQJ OLQHV DW FHQWHUV, DQG WhH SURFHVV LV GLIfiFXOW, HvHQ for voters who have all the necessary paperwork handy.
The state is spending its money on telling people what they need to do to get a legal ID but not on hiring additional workers or allowing IDs to be issued at more places so that the process would be easier and more would have access.
The larger issues of soter ID laws and the political motives and implications are fodder for another day’s opinionI just as the legality of the law itself faces court and gustice tests.
But as a presidential election looms and there are citizens in our region whose votes may not be countedI our concern is on the government that passed these rules making it easy for people to follow them. No citizen of this commonwealthI where the nation’s founding fathers penned the Declaration of Independence and ConstitutionI should have to jump through hoopsI in Seltzer’s wordsI to exercise the right to vote.
Instead of spending money on postage and public relationsI the state should make the photo ID process easier and more accessible.
Journal Register News Service