October 04, 2012

PA Commonwealth Court Preserves Seniors’ Rights by Delaying Voter ID

Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans President Jean Friday issued the following statement in response to the Commonwealth Court’s ruling today on Voter ID:

“This year, the Republican-controlled Legislature let Pennsylvania seniors down by enacting a bill that would disenfranchise many of our most vulnerable – those who no longer drive and have no need for a PennDot ID or Passport.  Thankfully, the courts have agreed with the broad coalition of non-profit groups, including the Alliance, who sued to protect our rights.  While we did not achieve our main goal of blocking the law altogether, we are thrilled that the court recognized the logistical impossibility of making sure that every legitimate voter in Pennsylvania without an ID, estimated as high as 11% of the population, can get one.  The temporary injunction delaying implementation until next year will allow the Alliance and our many coalition partners the time we need to deal with this problem.

“The underlying facts of Voter ID remain the same.  This is still a bad piece of legislation that wastes taxpayer money and creates an unnecessary barrier to a basic American right all in the name of solving a problem that even the bill’s proponents have admitted does not exist.  However, this ruling is still a positive development that will mitigate the law’s negative impact on Pennsylvania citizens.

“The Alliance for Retired Americans plans on continuing our outreach efforts on Voter ID to make sure that seniors are prepared when the law takes effect for local elections in 2013.  We urge the State to continue their efforts to get IDs to people who need them, so that next year’s elections go as smooth as possible.

“Now that this issue has been pushed to the back burner, we can focus on the important issues facing senior voters during this election, including the Ryan Plan to cripple Medicare, the Simpson-Bowles plan to cut Social Security and the right-wing misinformation machine’s assault on the important improvements made to Medicare by the Affordable Care Act.  Hopefully with 100% of the electorate able to vote, candidates who support the programs that guarantee an adequate quality of life for retirees will prevail!”

The Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans, led by President Jean Friday of Westmoreland County, has over 300,000 members and 147 local affiliates across the Commonwealth.  PARA’s mission is to educate seniors and the public about retiree issues, and organize seniors to advocate for their interests in Harrisburg and Washington.  To learn more, visit www.pennretiredamericans.org

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