Will State’s Most Recent Voter ID Concession Convince Critics?
As the newest round of Voter ID hearings began this morning in Commonwealth Court, the state said it’s attempting to ease its identification rules, again. PennDOT officials noted today that applicants looking to get a new state ID to vote will now only have to make one trip to ID centers.
While there, they can apply for a voting-only card, “and if there is a problem,” writes the Inquirer this morning, “they will still have their photo taken” and a card will be mailed to them.
But Philadelphia good government group the Committee of Seventy thinks the state can do more.
“The state deserves credit for this positive step forward for voters. But it’s still one step short. PennDOT should open its doors much wider to make sure that everyone who needs a DOS ID is able to get one in these final weeks before the election,” said Zack Stalberg, Seventy’s President and CEO, in a statement from the group.
Seventy also put out recommendations for PennDOT to remedy their other problems, which include opening temporary driver’s license centers throughout Pennsylvania, longer hours and providing forms in languages other than English.
Speaking of problems, according to Philadelphia voting activist Faye Anderson, the new change is just another flaw in a long line of flaws.
“The state is implementing the voter ID law on the fly,” she tells Philadelphia Weekly. “In a desperate effort to salvage the ill-conceived and hastily drawn law, PennDOT is issuing a voter ID card to anyone who shows up and provides the same information they gave when they registered to vote. No proof of residency? No problem. Just sign on the dotted line that you are a registered voter.”
Anderson, a volunteer with the Pennsylvania Voter ID Coalition, is the creator of web applications Cost of Freedom, which provides information on Voter ID laws; and Yo! Philly Votes, which allows voters to monitor the polls and post their observations to an online forum.
Anderson, an opponent of the Voter ID law, has dedicated much of her time as of late to informing Philadelphians on the new state rules, assuming it is upheld for the Nov. 6 election.
“What’s the point of requiring already registered voters to go to PennDOT to complete an application stating they are a registered voter?” she continues. “The process may be streamlined but it’s still disenfranchisement by design. The voter suppression by voter ID scheme is designed to sow confusion among voters and their advocates, and create chaos at the polls.”
As it happens, today is National Voter Registration Day. Rock the Vote is holding a rally at the Community College of Philadelphia and we’re hearing Talib Kweli is set to perform at 3 p.m.