College students, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and transgendered people are among the 9% of Pennsylvania registered voters who do not have proper forms of government-issued ID required to vote in November. A public meeting, sponsored by the Pittsburgh Jewish Social Justice System, has been set to address any questions or concerns about Pennsylvania's new voter ID law.
In March, Pennsylvania became the ninth state to require a form of ID to vote. A Commonwealth Court judge is to hear arguments Wednesday on a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which seeks to void the voter ID law on the basis that it blocks the fundamental right to vote.
Deborah Fidel, Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee, said this will be the first topic of discussion for the roundtable since she co-convened the group about four months ago. "We thought that this issue was a good rallying cry to get everybody around the table to work on making sure people's vote is protected come the fall," Fidel said.
Panelists at the discussion will include Barb Feige, the Director of the ACLU of Greater Pittsburgh, Ariene Levy, the past co-President of the League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh, Mark Wolosik, the Allegheny County Division of Elections Manager, State Representative Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny), and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.
Fidel said they will focus more on what will or will not be required of voters rather than what the voter ID law is. "This is a nuts-and-bolts workshop so that people will be aware, if they're not already, of what it is that they need to do and have in hand in order to be able to vote," Fidel said.
She added that Pennsylvania residents need to be aware of any and all new information surrounding the law. "We also want to make sure the people know, because the regulations are changing. The state keeps updating what you need and what you don't need, so it's changing, but we want to make sure that if you're entitled to get your ID for free, you know your rights and you insist that happens," Fidel said.
The event will be held at JCC Levinson Hall in Squirrel Hill Monday, July 23 at 7:00 PM.