Tags: voter | id | aclu | pennsylvania

ACLU Challenging Pa. Voter ID Law in Court

Wednesday, 11 Apr 2012 08:45 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging Pennsylvania’s new voter identification law, saying it discriminates against the elderly, poor, disabled, and urban voters.
 
The law was just signed in March by Gov. Tom Corbett, but the ACLU plans to file a lawsuit by the end of this month seeking to have it declared unconstitutional, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
 
The Inquirer also reported that a Democratic bill was introduced Tuesday in the state legislature seeking to repeal the measure, which requires voters to show a photo ID before casting their ballots in elections.
 
In an effort to avoid confusion ahead of the state’s upcoming primary on April 24, Pennsylvania residents are being told they won’t be turned away if they don’t have a photo ID, despite the new law. But potential voters are being urged to obtain a non-driver ID from the state Department of Transportation if they don’t have photo identification.
 
That could present a problem, however, because the law requires people who apply for a non-driver ID to present a birth certificate. Opponents of the law say that could be difficult for many people who simply don’t have a birth certificate and don’t know how to obtain one.
 
According to the Inquirer, the NAACP, which is also planning a court challenge to the law, is helping to pay the costs for some seniors who need out-of-state birth certificates.
 
Voter ID laws are being challenged across the country. Cases have already been heard in at least four states, where Republican-controlled legislatures have passed new laws.

The Justice Department last month blocked Texas from enforcing its new identification law, and a Wisconsin state judge recently ruled that requiring a photo ID to vote is unconstitutional.
 
J. Whyatt Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia branch of the NAACP, said the Republican-sponsored Pennsylvania law was designed to suppress traditionally Democratic voters, especially this year as President Barack Obama seeks election to a second term.
 
“Nationally, we see this as a gross and grotesque attack on the voting rights of African Americans, Latinos, the recently incarcerated, and the young, who have the most difficulty getting photo ID,” Mondesire said. “We will resist this in every way we can.”
 

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