A witness described his efforts to help homeless people in Philadelphia qualify for state photo identification cards, and lawyers clashed over a year-old survey that showed large numbers of voters lacking acceptable IDs as a trial on the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s yet-to-be-enforced voter ID law reached its third day Wednesday. Late in the day, a lawyer for plaintiffs seeking to overturn the law began questioning Jonathan Marks, a high-ranking elections official, about the evolution of a special Pennsylvania Department of State photo ID available to voters who can’t obtain other acceptable identification, but the testimony was continued until Thursday.
Adam Bruckner told Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley that Philly Restart, a group he founded in 2002, routinely covers the fees for homeless people seeking identification they need to work and vote.
The group sponsors weekly gatherings in Center City at which people referred by shelters and relief agencies can get a meal and a check to cover fees of $13.50 for a PennDOT-issued non-driver photo ID or $10 for a birth certificate copy from the state Health Department, which may be a prerequisite for an ID. As a security precaution, Bruckner said, the checks are made out to the state.