Local officials speak out against Voter ID Law
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.