News

News

Voter Registration Laws and How it Could Impact the Election
Jul 16, 2012 | News Archive
Voter Registration Laws and How it Could Impact the Election

This upcoming election is crucial; and so is knowledge of the new laws. Political Correspondent and Intern Eric Turner tells us why...

Millions of potential voters might be unable to participate in the 2012 presidential election due to a variety of states that changed their voting laws.              These new restriction include limiting early voting and providing a state issued photo Identification. The new laws were allegedly put into place in order to prevent fraud and discrimination but many critics of the new law claim that it is an attempt to increase voter suppression.

According to an interview on PBS News Hour, Keshia Gaskins, senior council for the Democracy program Brennan Center for Justice, expresses that there is plenty of evidence that suggest voter suppression.

“We know that there are millions of voters in this country who lack government issued photo ID. and we know that’s at least 3.2 million voters in states across this country that have impulse these new voter ID laws. That’s in addition to over the 1 million voters who would be impacted by the changes to early voting and absentee voting rules, and the other 500 thousand voters who are impacted by changes to voter citizen registration drives…and up to 5 million Americans may be potentially restricted from voting or [find it] more difficult for them to access the polls.

Keshia Gaskins goes on to mention that this information is supported by an analysis of voting patterns in the 2008 Presidential Election and other studies that reflect those statistics. However, Supporters of the new voter ID laws believe that the above mentioned statistics are not supported with facts and that the Brennan Center for Justice “made them up out of thin air” as mentioned by Hans Von Spakovsky who is a representative of  the Heritage Foundation and served in the Justice Department during the George W. Bush administration. He goes on to mention that a change in our current voting system is vital in order to sustain our current democracy.  Hans Von Spakovsky also dismisses  a proposal to simply register citizens through DMV records  due to the belief that it would not be sufficient enough to prevent fraud because of the fact of that tens of thousands of people are illegally getting driver license and therefore would result in a number of ineligible voters who are voting illegally.

Pennsylvania is among the list of states who implemented the new voter laws. A brief summary on some of the requirements for potential voters include

Photo Identification of an acceptable photo identification such as a PA  driver’s license, state issued I.D, U.S. passport etc. Voters who do not have an acceptable photo ID can obtain one through PennDOT Driver License Center free of charge. In addition, a voter need to have his or her social security card and an official birth ceritifcate of U.S citizenship but voters who were born in PA do not have to provide a birth certificate if they fill out Form HD01564F (Request for Certification of Birth Record for Voter ID Purposes Only) and ask a PennDOT customer service representative to forward the request to the PA Department of Health (which houses the Division of Vital Records) to certify the voter’s birth record. This process will take 10 days and is FREE OF CHARGE. Furthermore   two proofs of residency such as a lease agreement or W-2 form is also needed.

For more information and details visit http://www.seventy.org/Elections_Voter_ID_Issues_for_All_Voters_Voting_In_Person_at_the_Polls.aspx

And voters can find the nearest PennDOT Driver’s License Center by going to http://www.dot.state.pa.us/ or by calling:
In-State:  1-800-932-4600
Out-of-State (if calling from a non-PA area code):  1-717-412-5300

 

Posted By: Eric Turner

News