Educating seniors about Pa.'s Voter ID Law

GERMANTOWN - September 10, 2012

While its future is still unknown, local groups are moving forward to make sure everyone, especially seniors, are prepared to vote in November.

"The Electric Slide" kicked off Monday's program at the NewCourtland Education Center at Germantown Senior Community.

But the focus soon turned to an issue that has electrified constituents: the new Voter ID Law. Staff members have seen concerns crop up about obtaining valid identification.

"A lot of them have expressed the inability to access their birth certificate," said NewCourtland's Angela Brown. "A lot of them have expressed challenges getting to and from PennDOT."

"I don't think much of it, but when the law passed, gotta go along with it," said James Martin of Oak Lane.

Stations were set up, including an ID checkpoint, voter registration, and sign-up for a trip to PennDOT if necessary.

A panel comprised of city and state officials explained and answered questions about what constitutes a valid photo ID.

"Our main job is to make sure it is free and fair elections," said Dennis Lee of the City Commissioners' Office. "In order to do that, we have to make sure everyone is educated."

Debate has been heated. Supporters say the law deters voter fraud. But critics maintain hundreds of thousands of Commonwealth voters who lack proper ID will be disenfranchised, including the poor, the disabled, and seniors.

Some here believe the law is designed to hurt Democrats.

"Romney probably had something to do with it," said Dolores Brabham of Germantown, "because they want to make it more difficult for Obama to get in."

The staff here says regardless of party affiliation, seniors need to take the proper steps now. NewCourtland is offering free transportation to PennDOT for all Philadelphia seniors.

Beginning Tuesday, NewCourtland will begin providing free transportation from their five senior centers to PennDOT to get valid ID. That transportation will run from Tuesday through Friday, now through November 5th. If you have any questions, contact NewCourtland at 1-888-530-4913.

In addition PennDOT announced Monday that it is adding extended Thursday evening hours at five of its Philadelphia locations.

The following PennDOT centers in the city will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday nights from September 27th through November 8th.

• 801 Arch St.
• 1530 South Columbus Blvd.
• 2320 Island Ave.
• 919-B Levick St.
• 7121 Ogontz Ave.

PennDOT says it will continue to closely monitor customer demand for Voter IDs at all of its Driver License Centers statewide.

For more information, visit

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