why is this such a big deal? show some photo ID. how to people go through life without photo ID?
BY ROBERT SWIFT (HARRISBURG BUREAU CHIEF firstname.lastname@example.org)
Published: May 2, 2012
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HARRISBURG - A 93-year-old black woman who participated in a civil rights march with Martin Luther King Jr. is a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed Tuesday to overturn the new state voter ID law.
Viviette Applewhite, Philadelphia, said she has run into problems obtaining replacement personal identification after her pocketbook was stolen. She is worried about being disenfranchised under the law requiring voters to show specific identification at the polls.
"Voting is important to me," Applewhite said in a video statement recorded Monday. "It gives you equal rights to do things."
The lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and other advocacy groups features 10 plaintiffs. Several of them experienced discrimination while living in the South prior to passage of the civil rights and voting rights laws in the 1960s, while others have run into various problems obtaining the proper ID.
"These folks cannot get the kind of ID that is required under the law," said ACLU attorney Witold Walczak. "These are individuals who put lie to the commonwealth's claims that nobody will be affected by this law."
It can take at least three months to obtain a birth certificate, which is the key document to obtaining the voter ID required by the law, said Jennifer Clarke, executive director of the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia. An individual lacking a birth certificate needs to start the process of obtaining one now in order to be eligible to vote in the General Election, she said.
The lawsuit asks the Commonwealth Court to issue an injunction to block enforcement of the law before the Nov. 6 election.
The law violates the state Constitution, which states, "no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage," Walczak said.
Gov. Tom Corbett and Republican legislative leaders who enacted the law in March said it will support the principle of "one individual, one vote" by serving to deter fraud at the polls.
The law requires voters to show proof of identification issued by the state or local government or from a local government to an employee, a Pennsylvania public or private higher education institution and Pennsylvania care facility that includes a photo, name that "substantially conforms" to the name appearing on a voter register and current effective date in most cases.