For more than a year “Washington Watch” has focused on voter suppression, and finally the courts are beginning to take some action.
In Ohio, a federal judge restores early voting statewide for the three days preceding the election. However, the state’s top elected official, a Republican and an advocate of these voter suppression policies, says he won’t allow counties to set the hours for that early voting until an appeals court rules. There’s a hearing set for next Thursday.
In Florida, a federal judge bars restrictions on voter registration drives set up by Republican state officials. There were rules and fines that made it very difficult for groups to register new voters. Even the League of Women Voters was scared off by the ridiculous fines as well as the regulations.
And in Texas, a federal court strikes down the state’s picture I.D. requirements because they discriminated against the poor and minorities. Texas officials say they will appeal.
Folks, here’s the point. We’ve been on this voter suppression problem for the last year. If we stand up for what’s right — and what can be more right than the right to vote — we can roll back these new efforts to suppress the votes of the poor, the elderly, the young and minorities. Now, each week we’re going to focus on one state to tell you how to beat these new poll tax-type laws.
This weekend, it’s Pennsylvania, where a state judge last month upheld the state’s voter I.D. law. In Pennsylvania, you will need a photo I.D. to vote. Acceptable forms of photo I.D. are: a government-issued photo I.D. — federal, state, county or city; a Pennsylvania driver’s license — even one that expired less than a year before Election Day is okay; and photo I.D.s from elderly care facilities.
Now, if you don’t have one of these, you can get a voter I.D. card at one of the state’s 71 driver’s license centers. You will need: a Social Security number, if you have one; and proof of residence, such as a lease or utility bill. The I.D.s are free, but [it] can take up to two weeks to obtain them. So, if you don’t have a valid I.D., start now by going to votespa.com. That’s v-o-t-e-s-p-a.com. The last day to register to vote in Pennsylvania is October 5th.