[Editor's Note: the number of estimated township voters has been clarified in this updated version of the article 10 a.m., 8-16-12)
As , the Commonwealth Court ruled in favor of continuing Pennsylvania’s Voter Identification Law.
The law, passed in March, requires voters to present a valid photo ID at the ballots. Per the ruling, it will remain in effect for the upcoming November elections.
According to the article, opponents of the law say that it disproportionately targets elderly, poor and minorities, who typically vote Democratic, and may have trouble obtaining such identification.
Supporters say that the law is necessary to prevent voter fraud.
However, some officials in Lower Providence Township state that that required photo identification is a moot point for township voters.
“I don’t think it will affect voter turnout in Lower Providence,” Richard Brown, chairman of the Township’s Board of Supervisors, said.
Brown, a Republican, has also been a constable at the 1-2 Arrowhead School polling place since the 1970s.
According to Brown, there are over approximately 1,700 registered voters in his polling place, and over 15,250 voters in the entire township. He said in the recent Primary elections only a few people had expressed disapproval of the state law.
Furthermore, Brown said that most Lower Providence voters do bring their driver’s licenses with them to the polls, as most residents need to drive in order to get to destinations around the township.
“This is not a suburban issue, it is an urban one,” Brown, said. “Nobody will be disenfranchised. Anybody who wants to vote will have their voter ID or vote by provisional ballot as a political statement.”
According to votesPA.com, a provisional ballot “is used to record a vote when there is some question regarding a voter’s eligibility.”
Longtime voter and president of the Lower Providence Concerned Citizens Association Ted Baird said he has voted in every election since moving to the township in 1969.
He said he regards the Voter ID law as an issues-based decision, and not a political one.
“I think everyone should show identification, there should be no exceptions,” Baird said. “Why should I have to do it, and someone who won’t identify themselves, not?”
Nancy McFarland, another longtime township voter, agreed with Baird’s sentiment. She said she has volunteered outside her polling place since 1976, and said she didn’t understand the need for controversy over showing identification.
“I go to the bank to withdraw from my account, and I have to show my ID,” McFarland said. “I don’t understand what the big fuss is about.”
As a first-generation immigrant, McFarland said that voting is both a duty and right of an American citizen; an ideal she said her own immigrant father was proud of when he was eligible to vote.
“When it comes time to vote, I think American citizens should vote, not just everybody,” McFarland said. “This is our country. People that vote elect our officials and representatives.”
[Updated: 8-16-12, 10:24 p.m.]
Lower Providence Supervisor Jason Sorgini provided the following statement regarding the upholding of the voter ID law:
Regarding the voter identification law, providing photo identification has become a commonplace facet of our everyday lives. One of our most important responsibilities as citizens is to vote and the law was enacted to ensure that voting takes place in a manner free from any tampering or undue influence. Information about the photo identification requirement has been made available in a multitude of locations and through a variety of media. With assistance from many agencies across [the] Commonwealth, voters are being informed and opportunities to obtain a photo identification are being provided in advance of the November election. I do not anticipate that it will [have] lower voter turnout for the very important general election in November.
According to a Philly.com article, the Commonwealth Court’s ruling is expected to be appealed.