July 11, 2013 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Pennsylvania State Capitol Rotunda
Main Capitol Building
North 3rd Street,Harrisburg,PA 17120
Bus leaves IBEW Hall in Vanport, PA at 7:00am Contact Linwood Alford 724-843-6319
Joining members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus (PLBC) will be members of the NAACP, AFL-CIO, Communications Workers of America and Service Employees International Union.
Serving as keynote speaker for the rally is the Rev. Dr. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, who is known for his stirring commentary and fight for civil rights.
Under his leadership, the NAACP developed a new voter registration and voter participation system, which resulted in registering more than 442,000 new voters in North Carolina.
“Dr. Barber is one of this country’s strongest voter protection advocates, and I am pleased that he will be addressing our rally and supporting us in this very important issue,” said Representative Vanessa Lowery Brown. “Although Pennsylvania’s voter ID law was not implemented in the last election cycle, our work is far from over. We must continue to fight against this discriminatory law and make our voices heard until it is no longer law in our Commonwealth.”
On Monday, July 15, voting rights advocates and injured parties are getting their day in court, with the trial set to begin which will determine the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law. The timing of this trial will surely add to the national attention that it receives, just weeks after the US Supreme Court’s decision to gut the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
Under the protections of the Voting Rights Act, Federal Courts had recently struck down voter ID laws in Texas, Mississippi and Alabama, because they would have disproportionately denied voting rights to minority voters. Mere hours after the US Supreme Court rulings, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama all declared that they would immediately begin enforcement of their voter ID laws. The laws in these states are substantially similar to our own voter ID law. The fact that Pennsylvania did not require pre-clearance from the Federal Government to make changes to our voting laws, in no way mitigates the fact that our voter ID law would have exactly the same impact, of suppressing the votes of minorities.
And it is not just African Americans and Latinos who will be disenfranchised if this law were to survive a legal challenge in Pennsylvania; the elderly, including elderly veterans, young voters, the poor, and urban voters who rely on public transportation, are all less likely to possess a photo ID that would meet the State’s strict guidelines.
“The entire roll-out of the voter ID law in Pennsylvania has been marked with distortions and misinformation from this administration,” said Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale. “The Governor’s office initially claimed that only 1% of Pennsylvanians lacked appropriate photo identification. After passage of the bill, the Secretary of State revised that number upward by 800%, declaring that 758,000 registered voters do not have PennDOT IDs. Our own analysis last summer proved that the real number was closer to 1.6 million, or nearly 20% of the voting population in the Commonwealth.”
These legitimate voters who are at risk of having their right to vote taken away are highly concentrated in urban areas, college towns, and in areas of high poverty.
“Nearly half the voting population of Philadelphia, 427,000 voters, could lose their right to vote under this law unless they spend time and money which they may not have, to obtain a new photo identification card that they may not know they need,” said Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Snyder. “The motivations for this law could not be more obviously political. Advocates for this photo ID voting requirements have been unable to identify a single case of voter fraud in Pennsylvania that could have been prevented by this law.”