NAACP officer calls state’s voter ID law confusing
By The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, July 31, 2012, 10:06 a.m.
Updated: Tuesday, July 31, 2012
HARRISBURG — Witnesses at a hearing on Tuesday regarding the state's voter-identification law painted a bleak landscape of voters confused by the new photo requirement.
They said they believe that PennDOT officials are dispensing misinformation and offering conflicting estimates of how many voters lack valid IDs.
“The information is just not getting out quick enough” to ensure that voters know about the law and understand how to comply, testified John Jordan, director of civic engagement for the NAACP.
His group is among plaintiffs in a Commonwealth Court lawsuit seeking to prevent the law from taking effect — the first step toward a broader challenge of its constitutionality.
Closing arguments are scheduled for Thursday.
Judge Robert Simpson, a Republican, has said he hopes to issue a ruling during the week of Aug. 13.
The photo-ID law, which the Republican-controlled Legislature approved earlier this year without any Democratic votes, requires every voter to show a valid photo ID — one of the nation's strictest ID laws. The law represents a significant change from the current requirement, in which only people voting in a polling place for the first time must show identification, including non-photo documents such as a utility bill or bank statement.
The law has provoked a fierce debate over voting rights as Pennsylvania is poised to play a potentially crucial role in the presidential election. Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to erect barriers to voting in an effort to gain an advantage for presumptive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney in a state that President Obama carried in 2008.
Secretary of State Carol Aichele, the state's top elections official, testified about her department's efforts to make PennDOT IDs — a driver's license or a non-driver photo card — the standard for complying with the new law.
Aichele said 91 percent of the state's 8.3 million voters have valid IDs and that the PennDOT cards — free to voters who lack other acceptable IDs — are the “most useful” form of photo ID.
The plaintiffs contend that at least 1 million voters don't have valid IDs. Aichelem though, said state officials believe the number is “substantially less” than the 759,000 voters whose names were not found in a comparison with a PennDOT database.
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I would suggest that if you consider the Voter ID laws "confusing", then perhaps your IQ is so low, that you shouldn't be voting at all. Sorry if that offends you, but there are way too many ignorant, uninformed people voting for the party that promises them handouts, ie the Democrats.
Submitted by: John on Tuesday, July 31, 2012
If you need information on how to obtain a Pennsylvania Voter ID, visit the Official Voter ID website, www.portal.state.pa.us. Don't click the site's first link about the state's photo ID. You'll just get a useless press release from Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele that tells you IDs won't be available until the last week of August. You'll want the eighth link, which is buried down near the bottom. This takes you to PennDOT's Voter ID website, www.dmv.state.pa.us/voter/voteridlaw.shtml. But don't click the website's first link. You'll just get the same useless press release from Carol Aichele. My impression from these sites is that they show how convoluted the process is for people in certain circumstances. First of all, this represents a dual literacy test, one on computer use and the other on reading comprehension. Second, these sites leave many questions unanswered. For example, you can find out what you need to do to get a birth certificate if you were born in Pennsylvania but nothing if you were born out of state. Third, the state claims free IDs are available, but you won't find any mention of them on the official application ($13.50). And among other issues, you can track down the ID center closest to your home, but you'll have to use MapQuest to get directions. And if you don't drive, which is true of most people who need the photo IDs, you'll have to get a bus route from your local transportation authority, provided you live in an area large enough to have one. I'd be very surprised if any of this passes constitutional muster: "Elections shall be free and equal; and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage." Essentially, what the state's Republican legislators and Gov. Corbett have given us is a system that makes the voting process in southern states before the Civil Rights era look progressive.