Councilman Jones to host voter ID block party Thursday

In a Wednesday afternoon press conference at City Hall, Fourth District City Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. announced details of the “BetheVOTE” concert and voter registration block party scheduled for tomorrow.

The event is a council leadership effort designed to help Philadelphians get proper identification for the upcoming presidential election. It will be held at the Shepard Recreation Center at 5700 Haverford Ave. from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Citing recent long lines at PennDOT as “a testimony to democracy,” Councilman Jones says he’s optimistic that the Voter ID law will have the opposite effect on Election Day.

“The ‘if you can’t beat them, we are going to cheat them’ theory is going to be a failed fraud strategy,” he said.

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The event was organized in collaboration with Councilman David Oh who is currently in Korea. Speaking on his behalf, spokesman Christopher Pienkowski said that the right to vote is and should remain to be about citizenship.

“Voting is a fundamental right and afforded to all citizens of the United States of America,” he said. “It’s not a democratic thing or a republican thing. It’s not anything that should be bound by socioeconomic [status]; race, age, creed or anything.”

In attendance was City Commissioner Stephanie Singer who emphasized “voting is power.”

She stated that in Nov. 2010 when Governor Tom Corbett was voted to office, 500,000 eligible Philadelphians did not vote. Governor Corbett voted to pass the Voter ID law in March. 

“This is your country, your democracy; grab it by the collar and make it listen to you,” said Singer. “You help your leaders by voting and making their voices louder and stronger.”

She continued by saying that voting allows them to make their governments, state, city and neighborhood anything they want it to be.

Councilman Jones said the event will be part of an ongoing movement even after Nov. 6 to ensure all Philadelphians get out to vote in coming elections.

The “Be The Vote” block party and voter registration drive will be a family-friendly event with entertainment by the Deliverance Gospel Choir, rhythm and blues singer Jeane Carne and hip-hop artist Chilly Moody.

Voter registration tables will be set up and the Service Employees International Union will be providing transportation to and from PennDOT.

There will be free giveaways as well as food for all attendees.

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