City, groups working to spread word on voter-ID law

Posted: September 13, 2012

COMMUNITY organizers working to educate people on the new voter-ID law met to strategize Tuesday in Center City, two days before the state Supreme Court hears arguments about whether to keep the new rules for the Nov. 6 election.

Mayor Nutter spoke to the PA Voter ID Coalition on Tuesday, stressing the need to reach out to voters.

"We have thousands of people in this city that probably have no idea what's going on," Mayor Nutter told the group. "For me, a successful Election Day is everybody who is eligible to vote, gets to vote."

Some members within the PA Voter ID Coalition, organized by the Committee of Seventy, are still fighting the law, and everyone in the group is working to spread the word in their communities and make sure voters have unexpired photo IDs.

There are concerns that the law will disenfranchise voters that don't know about the change and those without proper ID, mainly blacks, Latinos, the poor, elderly and young - all demographics that tend to vote for Democrats.

"Our main concern is to alleviate any confusion of voters exposed to [the change] for the first time," said Joe Certaine, an organizer for the coalition who said that his worst nightmare is voters not voting because they don't know what they need.

Coalition efforts in Philadelphia focus on voter registration and education about the ID requirements, according to Paula Peebles, from the Philadelphia National Action Network. Her organization canvasses communities, holds registration events in public venues and speaks to religious organizations on Sundays.

Nutter sent a letter on Monday asking Gov. Corbett to extend PennDOT hours, provide one standardized set of guidelines to county election officials and set up extra temporary voter-ID service sites. Five PennDOT Philadelphia locations recently added Thursday evening hours to accommodate people requesting IDs.

Actions by the city government to inform the public include posted fliers and a letter to city block captains discussing the new changes. The city issued new ID cards to employees who did not have proper identification. Past city ID cards did not include expiration dates.

Oct. 9 is the last day to register.


Contact Sara Khan at khans@phillynews.com.

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