Voter ID trial focuses on available transportation to PennDOT centers

    State lawyers defending Pennsylvania’s voter identification law are pointing out that those who claim they’ve been unable to get a valid ID haven’t exhausted every possibility — even if that possibility comes from the legal team bringing them into court.

    Challengers have presented several witnesses who testify they’ve been unable to get the proper ID for voting because they can’t get to a PennDOT licensing center.

    They cite age, pain, disability, and difficulty finding a ride.

    State lawyers are persistently noting the options they’ve overlooked — getting ID by mail, or insisting that a family member give them a ride.

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    Last week, 90-year-old Margaret Pennington took the stand.

    Under cross-examination, she said a driver brought her to court.

    A state lawyer asked her repeatedly if she would ask the driver to take her to a PennDOT center nearby before driving her home.

    She said she would ask.

    But a spokesman for attorneys defending voter ID acknowledges the constitutionality of the law isn’t affected by whether ancillary groups and legal teams are helping people get ID.

    And one of the attorneys challenging the constitutionality of the law had another take on the suggestion.

    “I would think that if there’s any kind of entity that is suited to give people rides to PennDOT locations, it would be the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation,” Ben Geffen said Tuesday. “And so I think the question really is, why isn’t PennDOT making IDs more available to people?”

    The trial is now scheduled to stretch into a third week.

    The commonwealth is expected to begin presenting its case in the next two days.

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