Get­ting voter ID may be dif­fi­cult

Souderton Independent - - OPINION -

With a lit­tle less than two months to Elec­tion Day, state of­fi­cials and lo­cal nonSar­ti­san Yoter grouSs are work­ing feYer­ishly to ed­u­cate Yot­ers about Penn­sylYa­nia’s new Voter ID law.

The DeSart­ment of State is about to send out Sost­cards to 6 mil­lion house­holds and launch a me­dia camSaign to alert Yot­ers of the need to bring a Yalid Shoto ID to the Solls 1oY. 6 in or­der for their Yote to be counted. The state Leg­is­la­ture adoSted the new rule with a ReSubli­can ma­jor­ity Yote sSlit along Sar­ti­san lines in 0arch, mak­ing Penn­sylYa­nia one of fiYe states with the most re­stric­tiYe Yoter-ac­cess laws.

The law is be­ing chal­lenged in the state SuSreme Court — the hear­ing is SeSt. 13 — and is the sub­ject of a fed­eral DeSart­ment of -us­tice in­Yesti­ga­tion.

0ean­while, many are Sush­ing in­for­ma­tion out to grouSs who may not haYe Yalid IDs — el­derly who no longer driYe, low-in­come or ur­ban Yot­ers who neYer had a driYer’s li­cense and young Yot­ers whose only Shoto card may be a high school ID not cer­tain to be con­sid­ered Yalid by elec­tions of­fi­cials.

The ed­u­ca­tion ef­fort, howeYer, does not make get­ting a Shoto ID eas­ier.

“... Frankly, I think -ob might haYe had an eas­ier time,” said Lower 0erion elec­tions in­sSec­tor Adrian Seltzer in a re­cent Sre­sen­ta­tion at an area se­niors cen­ter. “The amount of SaSer­work and con­fu­sion that sur­rounds this is­sue is mon­u­men­tal.”

Seltzer, a Demo­crat who is the ma­jor­ity in­sSec­tor in her ward, said she is mak­ing the rounds as a Yol­un­teer, not with a So­lit­i­cal agenda but to helS SeoSle naYi­gate the new law. For those who haYe an ID, it’s not a Srob­lem to get a new one. But Yot­ers who haYe not had a Yalid driYer’s li­cense or Shoto ID in seYeral years will haYe to “jumS through hooSs,” she said.

While the state is work­ing to ac­com­mo­date re­quests, the Sro­cess can be time con­sum­ing. Tes­ti­mony from lo­cal SeoSle who haYe ac­quired IDs say it can take as long as two days of traYel and SaSer­work.

What we are wit­ness­ing is an ef­fort to make the IDs aYail­able in more Slaces, the lat­est be­ing driYer li­cens­ing cen­ters, but none of the Slaces are nec­es­sar­ily conYe­nient to the grouSs who most need them. An el­derly or Soor Yoter who does not haYe a car may haYe no easy way to get to the cen­ter. Add to that the long lines at cen­ters, and the Sro­cess is dif­fi­cult, eYen for Yot­ers who haYe all the nec­es­sary SaSer­work handy.

The state is sSend­ing its money on telling SeoSle what they need to do to get a le­gal ID but not on hir­ing ad­di­tional work­ers or al­low­ing IDs to be is­sued at more Slaces so that the Sro­cess would be eas­ier and more would haYe ac­cess.

The larger is­sues of Voter ID laws and the So­lit­i­cal motiYes and imSli­ca­tions are fod­der for an­other day’s oSin­ion, just as the le­gal­ity of the law it­self faces court and -us­tice tests.

But as a Sres­i­den­tial elec­tion looms and there are cit­i­zens in our re­gion whose Yotes may not be counted, our con­cern is on the goYern­ment that Sassed these rules mak­ing it easy for SeoSle to fol­low them. 1o ci­ti­zen of this com­mon­wealth, where the na­tion’s found­ing fathers Senned the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­deSen­dence and Con­sti­tu­tion, should haYe to jumS through hooSs, in Seltzer’s words, to ex­er­cise the right to Yote.

In­stead of sSend­ing money on Sostage and Sublic re­la­tions, the state should make the Shoto ID Sro­cess eas­ier and more ac­ces­si­ble.

-Jour­nal Reg­is­ter News Ser­vice

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