Thursday, May 3, 2012

A.C.L.U. Files Suit Over PA Voter I.D. Law

Public News Service-PA
(05/03/12) HARRISBURG, Pa. - Between 90,000 and 900,000 Pennsylvanians could be shut out from the voting process because they don't have the "right kind" of photo identification under Pennsylvania's voter ID law, according to one argument in a lawsuit being filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU claims the law is unconstitutional. Its Pennsylvania legal director, Vic Walczak, says the Constitution mentions nothing about needing a photo ID to vote.

"This is a burden that is going to fall largely on the poor, on the elderly, on students, on the transgender community and on people with disabilities."

Walczak says the law puts an unnecessary burden on Pennsylvanians, who may have limited means to secure identification that would be suitable at the polls.

"We have found many people who have literally been trying for years, sometimes with the assistance of lawyers, and have been unable to get an original birth certificate, which is what you need in order to get this voter ID from the state of Pennsylvania."
The voter ID law also exposes voters to any number of problems on Election Day, Walczak says. If voters arrive at a polling place with an unacceptable form of identification, he says, they'll have only six days - two of them on a weekend - to get ID that will be accepted.

"It will be virtually impossible for a person to get that valid photo ID within those six days, which means all those people who show up at the polls who don't have acceptable ID, their votes will not be counted."

Proponents of the law say it will help curb incidents of voter fraud. State election officials say they get many reports of voter fraud, but say only one case, in Chester County, has been confirmed. Walczak says he has yet to see proof that even a single incident of in-person voter fraud has taken place in Pennsylvania.

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