People For the American Way Foundation

New Lawsuit Challenges Voter ID in Pennsylvania

This week, voting rights supporters in Pennsylvania filed suit against HB 934, the state’s voter ID law whose original sponsor, Daryl Metcalfe, is an ALEC member. They claim that it deprives citizens of their basic and fundamental right to vote. Witold Walczak, Legal Director of the Pennsylvania ACLU:

The commonwealth’s phantom claims of in-person-voter fraud cannot be allowed to trump the very real disenfranchisement of long-time Pennsylvania voters. People need to wake up to the reality that not every voter has or can get photo ID, so making it a requirement will prevent many people from exercising one of our most precious rights.

Viviette Applewhite, a 93-year old woman from Philadelphia, is the lead plaintiff in the suit. Working as a welder during World War II and marching in support of civil rights with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Georgia, she has been voting since President John F. Kennedy came into office.

College students will also be greatly impacted come Election Day. Many college IDs in Pennsylvania will not be accepted as a valid form of identification since most lack an expiration date.

A recent study released today by PennPIRG and a broad coalition of voter protection groups found that Pennsylvania’s new photo ID voting law could potentially disenfranchise more than 80% of the state’s college students….Out of the 110 surveyed colleges and universities only 15 schools have student identification cards for all students that meet the requirements of having a photo, name and expiration date on the card.

Though the law will not be in full effect until the November election, its soft rollout during the April primary showed that the concerns of voting rights supporters are not without merit. For example, 91-year old Joyce Block attempted to acquire a photo ID but couldn’t. And we heard reports of several signs posted at polling places stating boldly, “ID Required to Vote”, with much smaller print (or none at all) clarifying that the requirement would not apply until November.

For more information, check out The Right to Vote under Attack: The Campaign to Keep Millions of Americans from the Ballot Box, a Right Wing Watch: In Focus report by PFAW Foundation.


112th Congress, ACLU, ALEC, American Legislative Exchange Council, Daryl Metcalfe, Joyce Block, Policy Corner, public policy, Student Voting, Viviette Applewhite, voter ID, voter suppression, voting rights, Witold Walczak