The Ladies of the 8th Ward Sound Off on Voter ID
Ruth Rump has been working Election Day polling places in Center City for the past 25 years. A Committeewoman in the Eighth ward, she’s had to get a number of additional jobs done preparing for today’s primary, mostly due to the recently-passed Voter ID Act.
“Each voter here got a memo from me about the Voter ID Act and people at the polls have been directed to ask for ID,” she says in her polling place at 18th and JFK. “They got all the info in the mail from me.”
She and several other women in Center City are currently working that polling place for today’s primary election. They say there’s only been one Voter ID problem thus far—and at that, it was a woman who came in early, knew about the law, didn’t like it and refused to show her ID. “She said it’s not until November, and I said, they’re training us. She wasn’t happy but that’s the way it goes.”
None of the five women current working that polling place are particularly appreciative of the new law signed by Gov. Corbett in March.
“They’re trying to correct something that doesn’t need to be corrected,” says Shirley Sobel, also working at the Center City spot. “It’s not broke. Don’t fix it.”
The Committee of Seventy just sent out an email saying some poll workers are confused about the Voter ID law. These women were not.
Rump says she was personally affected by the bill Gov. Corbett signed into law. “I don’t drive anymore,” she says. “My voter card had expired so I went down to the DMV to get a new one. It was packed with people. I went on a Wednesday morning, was there for an hour-and-a-half and all they did was make a copy of it. But what about the people who can’t go down there or are too ill to go down there?”
A voter who came in from the street joins the pile on, after asking what we’re talking about. “I am really against it,” she says. “I think it’s going to exclude a lot of minorities and lower economic people…And I don’t think there are a lot of people out there who are voting five times.”
Pundits have shown that there is a better chance of being hit by lightning than discovering voter fraud in the United States.
The voter ID bill, as we’ve reported in the past, may have an adverse affect on minorities, the poor, the elderly and women, all of whom are more likely than other voters to not have a non-expired ID or one that matches their identity (with women, this often happens due to either a recent marriage or divorce). While poll workers are asking for ID today, you won’t be required to show ID officially, until November.
Asked how Pennsylvania got to the point where the Republican legislature passed Voted ID, Sobel has her theories.
“Young people don’t give a damn,” she says, citing how few people between the ages of 18 and 30 actually come out to vote, which was estimated at 24 percent in 2010. “They don’t look at it as a privilege and a right. They just ignore it, and you think about how many millions of people are eligible to vote and don’t? … There are too many people who spilled blood and died for us to have the right to vote,” she says.