Philly officials again question need for voter identification

    Those in favor of Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law say that it will ensure the validity of the state’s election results.

    Those opposing it, such as Philadelphia City Commissioner Stephanie Singer, question the intentions behind that premise. Singer says the new legislation is purely a politically motivated attempt to disenfranchise urban voters — those who are more likely to be Democratic-leaning and more likely to lack official identification.

    Yesterday, speaking from Philadelphia’s District Attorney’s office, she called for voters to send a message to the state lawmakers who passed the measure.

    “The best way to beat this law is for Philadelphia to come out and vote. Because every time you vote, you make Philadelphia’s voice louder on the state level, You make your neighborhood’s voice louder on the city level,” said Singer.

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    D.A. Seth Williams, also challenging the rationale behind the new law, said the city’s real issue concerning voter fraud has to do with voter intimidation, not proper identification.

    “We do have some voter fraud in Philadelphia, but it’s generally that type of fraud where people are arguing and shouting at each other before they go to vote,” Williams said. “Or if someone who is pushing one candidate is too close to the polling place itself or is actually in the polling place.”

    Philadelphia’s polls open will be open for primary election voting from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. The state’s new photo ID rule does not go into effect until the general election in November.

    To report voter intimidation or any other type of polling malfeasance in Philadelphia, call the district attorney’s office at 215-686-9641.

    Anyone with questions about the new law can call the nonpartisan political watchdog group The Committee of Seventy at 1-866-OUR-VOTE.

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