Voter ID

More Than 180 Voter Suppression Laws Proposed

By jamar Thrasher, Third and State

We have written a lot about Pennsylvania's Voter ID Law, which has been put on hold by the courts for the upcoming election. Turns out we're not alone when it comes to voting suppression.

That may not be news to you, but you may be surprised to know that more than 180 voter suppression laws were proposed in 2011 and 2012, according to The New York Times. These are laws defined as restricting or limiting voter access based on a myriad of qualifications.

Among the voter suppression laws enacted over the past two years: reductions to early voting, tougher voting rules for ex-convicts, limitations to voter registration drives, and (drum roll, please) voter identification requirements. The data were collected and analyzed by New York University's Brennan Center for Justice.

From the Times report:

Confused About Voter ID? You’re Not Alone

By Sharon Ward, Third and State

The eyes of the nation are truly turned to Pennsylvania as the ACLU is back in court today challenging Pennsylvania’s strictest-in-the-nation Voter ID Law. The Commonwealth Court is hearing evidence to determine whether the new Department of State voter ID will do the trick to ensure that anyone who needs an ID can get one, for free, in time to vote in November. If the state fails to make that case, the judge could issue an injunction to prevent the law from taking effect.

Early evidence seems to indicate that could happen. As Capitolwire.com has reported (subscription), Judge Simpson indicated Tuesday he will consider an injunction and has asked lawyers to be prepared to provide input on its scope and force. 

On Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center released a report on this topic exactly. The report, Moving Target: Pennsylvania’s Flawed Implementation of the Voter ID Law, asks the question: "How is PennDOT handling the new Department of State ID?" The answer, in layman’s terms, is simple: Not so good.

Chaos at the PennDOT

By Sharon Ward, Third and State

Now that Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson has given the green light to Pennsylvania’s strictest in-the-nation Voter ID Law, tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians will have to make their way to their local PennDOT office to get a photo ID. We can tell you, it won’t be easy.

This summer, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center recruited volunteers to visit PennDOT offices across the Commonwealth and tell us about their experiences trying to obtain free photo ID under the new law. The results of that survey are in our new report, Pennsylvania’s Identity Crisis: Rushed Implementation of Voter ID Law Puts Voting Rights at Risk.

Volunteers visited 43 PennDOT centers in 27 counties across the commonwealth, representing three-quarters of the state’s population. They completed a survey that looked at very simple things: whether there was signage, if forms were available, if there was information that the IDs could be available for free, if volunteers got accurate information. We were surprised just how difficult it was for our volunteers to get the right information and the right forms — and they knew exactly what to ask for. 

The report finds that voters are likely to be frustrated in their attempts to secure a free ID from PennDOT. Some volunteers found the offices weren’t open the first time they visited and they had to return another time. There was no signage and limited information in half the sites, and the forms needed to secure a free ID were not available most of the time. In almost half the cases, voters received information that proved to be incomplete or inaccurate from staff at the centers. Problems were as likely to occur in Franklin and Luzerne counties as in Philadelphia or Allegheny County.

Providing a free ID to anyone who needs it is one of the key constitutional tests of the validity of a state’s voter ID law, and we found Pennsylvania is not making the grade. Most volunteers were not told they could have an ID for free, and in 30% of the visits, they were told incorrectly they had to pay.

Few Informed that Voter ID Could Be Obtained at No Cost

We report on a man who took 16 people from his church to the PennDOT at 8th and Arch Street in Philadelphia, where they were told incorrectly they had to pay for a photo ID. Twelve of the 16 didn’t have the money with them and left empty-handed.  

The Department of State is rolling out a new Commonwealth ID next week, which may end up creating more problems than solutions. 

The bottom line is that the Commonwealth isn’t ready to get an ID to everyone who needs it for the November election, and unless we put on the brakes, people will be disenfranchised. They sure ain’t making it easy. 

Don't let Harrisburg destroy Philadelphia

Register to vote here, and fight for your picture ID This is meant to be a big poster in front of a table or a leaflet

YOUNG-PHILLY-POLITICS-ers help me to set up pro-Vote Philly tables.

Harrisburg hates SEPTA and public transit, and Republicans have always been against a National ID,
Philly is one place in the US that one is not handicapped not to have a driver's license, and if Philadelphians yawn it may mean no more SEPTA.

You don't have to blame Romney if you want to register Republican. As governor of Massachusetts he supported Public Transit, but he picked Paul Ryan for VP who wants to destroy SEPTA.

Register to Vote here, whether Dem, Repub, (or Green to expand SEPTA), or Libertarian, despite Republicans systemically trying to prevent Libertarians or Constitutionalists from Running a Presidential Candidate in Pennsylvania.

The effort to get Philadelphia the Public Transit Oasis in this country not to be denied the vote is being run by the National Obama campaign. But all of Philadelphia is being screwed. We all must get together to prevent Philly's Voice from being muzzled in Harrisburg, Help me set up a Pro-Philly less partisan vote and ID effort. Get some non-profit organization money involved to help people get ID's and register instead of just politicos such as League of Woman Voters.

LINK for Paul Ryan will destroy Septa,
http://transportationnation.org/tag/mitt-romney/

LINK for Green Party and better Cheaper SEPTA
http://www.thepoliticalguide.com/Profiles/President/US/Jill_Stein/Views/...

LINK to Democratic Party hurts their cause by refusing to help Libertarians and Constitutional Party stay on the ballot
http://blogs.philadelphiaweekly.com/phillynow/2012/08/16/libertarian-par...

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As soon as I find a good link for Green Party registration drives I will post the Obama site by editing this site. Of course a commenter can post it as well.
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Material on our local hero and icon Cheri Honkala, unless comments added regularly comments will close on that site,
http://my.firedoglake.com/richardkanepa/

AFTERTHOUGHT Lack of ID in this modern world is a handicap. So many people without one in Philly is probably at least a slight economic drain on the whole city. I understand it is illegal to ask people to get a free ID without asking them to vote. A party with a former homeless mother in the Vice President slot can be at the forefront of getting Philadelphians the ID they need.

Could someone clarify what I can and can not say to get thousands of new people to get the ID they need, some of which will take the opportunity to vote, maybe more than those who see the ID helper as trying to force Obama in their face.

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UPDATE
New suggestion for tabling

Register to vote here and let up help you to get the picture ID you need for many purpose. Sponsored by the Green Party (We process all voters regardless of party).

Informational note Harrisburg opposes Philadelphia and public transit,
http://www.city-data.com/forum/city-vs-city/1234560-there-any-other-stat...
So does Paul Ryan but not Romney. Green Party fights to lower fares and improve service. And fights voter depression. There are many issues, but please register and vote the way your conscience dictates. And if you don't have valuable picture ID take this public voting crisis as an opportunity to get one.

Vast Majority of PA College IDs Not Valid for Voting

A recent study released today by PennPIRG and a broad coalition of voter protection groups found that Pennsylvania’s new photo ID voting law could potentially disenfranchise more than 80% of the state’s college students.

While the law states that it will allow college IDs as a valid form of voting ID, it also includes language requiring that all IDs must have expiration dates, which the study found very few colleges in the state actually print on their issued IDs.

Out of the 110 surveyed colleges and universities only 15 schools have student identification cards for all students that meet the requirements of having a photo, name and expiration date on the card [1].

The recent survey was conducted by a diverse coalition of voter protection groups in the state, including PennPIRG, the ACLU, Committee of Seventy, Project H.O.M.E, the Lawyers Committee and Project Vote.

“Voter fraud isn’t a problem in Pennsylvania: Voter engagement is,” said Alana Miller of PennPIRG. “It’s estimated that only 74% of all eligible Americans are registered to vote and in 2008, a year that saw one of the highest turnouts in recent history, only 63% cast their ballot. Lawmakers should be looking for solutions that encourage full participation in democracy, not creating laws that set up hurdles for committed voters.”

Stefano Fuchs, a junior at Muhlenberg College, a school with IDs that will not be valid for voting, said, “It’s often hard as a college student to vote because of the transient nature of our living situation. However, elected officials should be doing what they can to increase voter turn out, not stifle it.”

The state legislature did not make sufficient effort to accommodate students by including college IDs as they are issued at most schools in the state as a valid form of identification for voting.

Third and State This Week: The State Budget, Voter ID and CEO Pay

This week, the state budget dominated with the introduction of the House Republican budget. We also weighed in on the cost of a voter ID law and the rules for CEO pay.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Voter ID Law Costly to Taxpayers

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is considering legislation that would require every citizen to present photo identification as a condition for voting in primary and general elections.

Many recently enacted voter ID laws have been subject to legal challenges, and states considering such laws are being proactive about including safeguards that eliminate impediments to a citizen's constitutional right to vote. But it doesn't come without cost.

In a recent policy brief, the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center applied the experiences of other states with voter ID laws to estimate the cost of implementing such a law in the Commonwealth. In order to meet the requirements set forth in the legislation and avoid potential litigation, PBPC estimates the first-year costs for a voter identification program of approximately $11 million.

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