Continued Resistance to Voter ID Law
The controversial voter identification law passed in Pennsylvania will be fully implemented for the Presidential election in the fall, but not without protest.
Senior citizens, low-income individuals and others in need of photo ID gathered outside of downtown Pittsburgh's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) License Center to rally against the law, claiming it will keep particular demographics away from the polls.
"People need to wake up," Richard Phipps of the Black Political Empowerment Project said. "You have a right to vote, people have died for this right, and to let someone take that right away from you, it just doesn't make sense."
Phipps noted that he is also a judge of elections, and is torn between the law's inconsistencies.
"In April, I'm allowed to break the law," Phipps said, "but in November, if I do the same thing, I will get a year in jail and I will forfeit my right to vote for four years."
However, the new law does not require photo ID for anyone taking part in the April 24 primary except new voters and those who are voting at a particular polling place for the first time. Poll workers are to ask voters next Tuesday for ID but identification will not be required till the November election.
While some organizations rallied for the repeal of the law, calling it unconstitutional, others were there to raise awareness and to urge people to walk inside the DMV to get a proper photo identification.
One of the protesters was Mary Hefferan, a volunteer with Just Harvest and a single parent.
"Every time I save up enough money for it, something else comes up," Hefferan said. "It's always something family oriented that comes up that stops me from getting a photo ID."
Hefferan adds that her photo identification has been expired for quite some time, and has failed at a handful of attempts to acquire a new state issued ID.
"Even though it's only $13.50," Hefferan said, "diapers still cost the same."
However, the Pennsylvania Department of Elections says the state-issued photo ID is free.