Friday, May 22, 2015

Advisory group for Voter ID law to meet Thursday

Group will develop ways to educate votes about controversial state law requiring a photo ID. Its meetings will be open to the public.

Advisory group for Voter ID law to meet Thursday

A county group formed to help voters deal with Pennsylvania’s controversial photo ID law will conduct its first meeting at 2 p.m., Thursday,  at the Bucks County Planning Commission’s offices in Doylestown.

The meeting of the Bucks County Voter ID Educational Advisory Group will be open to the public in the 4th floor Barney Grunmeier conference room, at 1260 Almshouse Rd.

The county commissioners formed the group of 11 volunteers to gather information and make recommendations on ways to educate the public about the new law. Starting with the November elections, voters will be required to present a valid photo ID at all polling places, or they will be turned away.

Voters who do not have a driver’s license or government-issued or student ID with an expiration date can get a free photo ID card from a PennDOT driver’s license center. They must present a Social Security card, two proofs of residency and an original birth certificate, passport, certificate of U.S. citizenship or certificate of naturalization.

Producing those documents, such as a birth certificate with a raised seal, has been a problem for some voters. Critics of the law say it will disenfranchise poor and elderly voters, who may have difficulty finding the time and the documents to get the ID card.

The group, chaired by Richard Coe of the nonprofit group Kids Voting, is scheduled to present its recommendations to the commissioners at their July 11 meeting.

Members of the committee, or their representatives, are:  

  • Joe Pizzo, county Republican Committee;
  • Neil Samuels, county Democratic Committee;
  • State Sen. Chuck McIlhinney (R);
  • State Rep. Tina Davis (D);
  • Deena Dean, county Board of Elections;
  • Najja Orr, county Area Agency on Aging;
  • Mary Beth Mahoney, county Mental Health/Developmental Programs;
  • Chris Edwards, county Public Information;
  • Connie Borichevsky, League of Women Voters;
  • Pearline Greene, county Human Relations Council.
About this blog
Chris Palmer covers Bucks County for the Philadelphia Inquirer. His previous work has appeared in the New York Times and on several Times blogs, including City Room, the Local East Village and SchoolBook (which has since been taken over by WNYC). Contact him at cpalmer@phillynews.com, 610 313 8212 or on Twitter, @cs_palmer.

Ben Finley covers Bucks County for The Philadelphia Inquirer. He previously worked for The Associated Press, FactCheck.org and the Bucks County Courier Times, where he won more than a dozen journalism awards from organizations including the Education Writers Association, the Society for Features Journalism and the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio and graduated with honors from The Ohio State University with a degree in journalism. Contact him at bfinley@phillynews.com, 610-313-8118 or on Twitter, @Ben_Finley.

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