Lo­cal of­fi­cials speak out against Voter ID Law

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - FRONT PAGE - By Jar­reau Free­man

3ROLWLFDO RI­fiFLDOV Ln $ELnJWRn Town­ship spoke out against the Voter ,GHnWL­fiFDWLRn LDw WKDW wDV uSKHOG Ey a Penn­syl­va­nia judge Aug. 15.

State Sen. LeAnna Wash­ing­ton, D-4, held a press con­fer­ence at her GLVWULFW RI­fiFH Ln 5RVOyn $uJ. 16 WR OD­ment the de­ci­sion by Com­mon­wealth Court Judge Robert Simp­son Jr., to up­hold the Voter ID Law that she re­ferred to as “re­stric­tive” and “dis­crim­i­na­tory.”

“This is a very sad day for the democ­racy, es­pe­cially for the reg­is­tered vot­ers who do not have proper idenWL­fiFDWLRn unGHU WKLV ODw,” :DVKLnJWRn said.

Un­der the Voter ID Law, reg­is­tered vot­ers must show a valid photo iden­ti­fiFDWLRn wKHn WKHy JR WR YRWH.

She said that what made this de­ci­sion up­set­ting was that it was based around pol­i­tics.

“The court is sup­posed to be non­par­ti­san, but they have made a de­ci­sion that [was] based on the pol­i­tics of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama,” she said. “They took the side of the Republicans and we are stand­ing here as Democrats say­ing we are not go­ing to stand for it.”

How­ever, Wash­ing­ton said she was also ap­palled by the law be­cause of the im­pact it will have on young adults, se­nior cit­i­zens, women and mi­nori­ties who are the big­gest vot­ing pop­u­la­tion in Penn­syl­va­nia. She said this will af­fect 60,000 res­i­dents in her dis­trict, which spans Philadel­phia and Mont­gomery coun­ties.

“I am hop­ing the Supreme Court will rule in our fa­vor and that this will all go away and that we can go back to vot­ing as usual,” she said.

State Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-153, shared Wash­ing­ton’s views.

“I was deeply dis­ap­pointed to hear the rul­ing by Judge Simp­son,” she said. “This is un­con­sti­tu­tional, po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated, un­nec­es­sary and a costly law.”

In the 153rd Dis­trict, Dean said that nearly 10 per­cent of res­i­dents are not el­i­gi­ble to vote. She said the nearly 4,200 peo­ple who casted their votes last spring will be un­able to vote in Novem­ber.

Dean said the law was “sold” in an at­tempt to stop voter fraud, which she said does not ex­ist and there is no proof of its ex­is­tence.

“This [law] is a so­lu­tion seek­ing a prob­lem,” Dean said.

Many res­i­dents and long-time vot­ers came out to speak against the law.

“I’m against this law be­cause I think it’s to keep mi­nori­ties from vot­ing for Pres­i­dent Obama,” said Crest­mont

res­i­dent Mar­garet Palmer. “This was bad tim­ing for the [law], but he’s go­ing to win any­way.”

Betty Thomp­son of Philadel­phia de­scribed the law as some­thing that was “turn­ing back the hands of time.” Thomp­son said that the law will dis­cour­age se­nior cit­i­zens and young peo­ple from vot­ing.

“We don’t want to dis­en­fran­chise peo­ple, we want to en­cour­age them to be part of this coun­try and par­tic­i­pate in all acts of cit­i­zen­ship,” she said.

Meryl Kramer of Fort Wash­ing­ton said that this law will take $11 mil­lion to im­ple­ment. She said those funds could go to­ward in­fra­struc­ture and ed­u­ca­tion.

Wash­ing­ton and Dean both said that they will work to get their con­stituents to the polls.

Wash­ing­ton said that she is work­ing to ed­u­cate peo­ple in her dis­trict about the law and will be reach­ing out to churches to help pro­vide trans­porta­tion to the Depart­ment of Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles, as well as to the polls on Elec­tion Day. She said that KHU RI­fiFH wLOO DOVR UHDFK RuW WR WKH PHnn­syl­va­nia Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and re­quest that it pro­vides longer hours so peo­ple can ob­tain a photo ID.

Ac­cord­ing to the Pen­nDOT web­site, acFHSWDEOH LdHnWL­fiFDWLRn LnFOudHV Dn PHnn­syl­va­nia driver’s li­cense, a non-driv­ers ID is­sued by Pen­nDOT, a U.S. pass­port, an HPSORyHH LdHnWL­fiFDWLRn FDUd LVVuHd Ey D fed­eral, state or county mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment, an ac­tive or re­tired mil­i­tary ID, ID is­sued by a Penn­syl­va­nia care fa­cil­ity and a ID is­sued by a state univer­sity, col­lege, sem­i­nary or community col­lege.

DHDn VDLd WKDW KHU RI­fiFH LV UHDFKLnJ RuW to se­nior liv­ing fa­cil­i­ties and at­tend­ing town hall meet­ings with voter reg­is­tra­tion in­for­ma­tion.

“This has sparked a move­ment about our con­sti­tu­tional rights,” Wash­ing­ton said. “We will teach peo­ple what they need to know [about the law] and get peo­ple where they need to go [to vote].”

Sen. LeAnna Wash­ing­ton, left, and state Rep. Madeleine Dean, dis­cuss the Voter ID Law Aug. 16.

Philadel­phia Res­i­dent Betty Thomp­son speaks out against the Voter ID Law.

Aaron Thomas is es­corted by po­lice fol­low­ing his hear­ing Aug. 10.

Po­lice say 87-year-old Michael Breier of Hunt­ing­don Val­ley is in crit­i­cal con­di­tion fol­low­ing a crash in­volv­ing his ve­hi­cle and a SEPTA bus Wed­nes­day morn­ing in Jenk­in­town. Photo cour­tesy of Kathy Cantwell

State Rep. Madeleine Dean speaks.

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