Witnesses describe bureaucratic hurdles in first day of voter ID challenge

    Six people testified on the opening day of a court challenge to Pennsylvania’s voter identification law that they’ve been trying to get photo identification in the state, some of them for years.

    Witnesses took the stand in the hearing and said because they don’t have key identifying documents, they can’t get the proper photo ID they need to vote this November.

    They virtually emptied out the contents of their wallets on a screen.

    They pointed to images of scanned health insurance cards, veteran’s cards, and voter registration cards — none of them will be valid at the polls.

    David Gersch, an attorney arguing to toss out the law, says even when people do obtain their birth certificate or Social Security card, the documents may be at odds with their current name.

    “People’s birth certificate or their Social Security card is in one name, the name they have later on is a different name. That’s why what’s going on right now is making it very difficult,” he said. “People have to use lawyers to try to get the ID,” he said.

    One lawyer who helps low-income people obtain their birth certificates says the pursuit is riddled with all kinds of hurdles — fees, bureaucratic runaround, and confusing instructions.

    The commonwealth’s attorneys point out the witnesses would have the documents and means to acquire a voter ID card that would allow them to vote in the general election, since the state is offering a new kind of ID.

    The cards are expected to be ready in late August.

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