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The advocacy group ColorofChange, in partnership with SEIU, has released the results of a new study showing that Pennsylvania residents are having a difficult time trying to fulfill the state's requirement that they have a photo ID of a specific type in order to vote this year. The law is currently under a state supreme court-ordered review precisely because the justices believe complying with the requirement may be too onerous a burden given the imminence of the election.

Under the law, only Pennsylvania driver's licenses, passports, military IDs, student and nursing home IDs with expiration dates, and non-driver's IDs issued by the state department of transportation (PennDOT) can be used by voters to identify themselves at polling stations. Estimates of how many citizens without these IDs range from 100,000 to 1.6 million.

The two organizations interviewed 75 voters who were seeking the proper identification at 45 of 71 PennDOT. They also interviewed 45 PennDOT officials. Conclusion? The burden is not “minimal,” as claimed by Pennsylvania Chief Deputy Attorney John Knorr.

The executive director of ColorofChange, Rashad Robinson, said in a statement:

Pennsylvania’s voting restrictions threaten to disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of voters statewide, contrary to what Pennsylvania officials have said—that selective voter ID isn't a burden. In fact, Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai audaciously praised Pennsylvania's selective voter ID law in March when he said it would enable Mitt Romney to win Pennsylvania.
The problems uncovered:
• Elderly and disabled voters having to return to the PennDOT multiple times after long waits—four hours or more—and then being told to come back

• Sick, elderly and disabled voters foregoing food or medications because of lack of timely or available restroom facilities

• Elderly, disabled an poor voters being misdirected to different locations or lines for "voter ID" by PennDOT officials

• Lower-income voters being asked to pay a fee for voter ID when the law stipulates that the ID should be provided at no charge

• PennDOT officials admitting that, while they had training, the law is confusing as everything keeps changing

• PennDOT offices were observed not regularly offering voter registration services to license applicants, as required under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993

None of this is any surprise to the critics of Pennsylvania's law. It's exactly what they said would happen. It's what the Republicans who voted lockstep in favor of this law knew would happen. Because the agenda, as Rep. Turzai made obvious, is to keep as many citizens likely to vote Democratic away from the polls as possible. The voter ID laws in Pennsylvania and most other states that have recently added them has its roots in the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council.  

The supreme court has given the commonwealth court judge who upheld the voter-ID law until Oct. 2 to rule on his reconsideration of the case. Among the examples that voter advocates will be presenting in the courtroom will be that of Nadine Marsh.

The granddaughter of the 84-year-old western Pennsylvanian has emailed state offices three times and her daughter has driven her to a driver's license center twice. She has never had a driver's license or a passport and because a fire destroyed her original birth record long ago, state authorities have not yet issued her an ID. In her last visit, she was told they should ship documents she filled out to the state capital for review. But she was given no receipt or any other paper showing she had appeared at the PennDOT office.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Sep 24, 2012 at 01:26 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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