“We never should have to fight for our right to vote,” said Martha Miller of Bristol. Miller was among a group of concerned residents who addressed the board of county commissioners on April 4. Miller told the commissioners that fighting for their right to vote is precisely what many elder and low-income Bucks County residents will have to do now that the Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed the Voter ID Bill in March. When the bill becomes the law in time for November election all voters will be required to present photo identification at the polls. Those who do not produce identification will be allowed to cast provisional ballots and will be required to send in an identification document within six days after the Election Day.
The new rule will present difficulties for elderly citizens, who might not have photo IDs because they do not drive, Miller said. Getting a non-driver identification card might not be easy for many members of the elderly and low-income communities because they do not have easy access to transportation to get to a Department of Motor Vehicles office to get the necessary documents, she said. Additionally not everyone is aware of the new law and many residents might be caught by surprise by the new rule on Election Day, Miller added. But even those who can get to the right place before the election in attempt to get an ID card might face difficulties.
One such citizen is Joyce Block of Doylestown. Block, 89, said she never missed an election in her life, but the new rule is presenting her with difficulties on the road to vote this year. Born at home almost ninety years ago, Block does not have a birth certificate with a raised seal, which is a document DMV requires residents to present in order to receive a state ID card. Block only has a copy of her birth certificate and is now forced, though with the help of her daughter, to contact various agencies in attempt to solve the problem. “I have a big family and I can get help,” Block told the commissioners on Wednesday. “But what about people who have no one and don’t have a birth certificate? What will happen to them?”