Four years ago as Viviette Applewhite, now 93, was making her way through her local Acme supermarket, her pocketbook hanging from her shoulder, a thief sliced the bag from its straps. A former hotel housekeeper, Ms. Applewhite, who never had a driver’s license, was suddenly without a Social Security card. Adopted and twice married, she had several name changes over the years, so obtaining new documents was complicated. As a result, with Pennsylvania now requiring a state-approved form of photo identification to vote, Ms. Applewhite, a supporter of President Obama, may be forced to sit out November’s election for the first time in decades. Incensed, and spurred on by liberal groups, Ms. Applewhite and others like her are suing the state in a closely watched case, one of a number of voter-identification suits across the country that could affect the participation of millions of voters in the presidential election.
“They’re trying to stop black people from voting so Obama will not get re-elected,” Ms. Applewhite said as she sat in her modest one-bedroom apartment in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, reflecting a common sentiment among those who oppose the law. “That’s what this whole thing is about.” Whether true or not, the focus on what Democrats call “voter suppression” is accelerating as the Nov. 6 election looms. Last week, Texas took the Obama administration to federal court because it blocked a voter identification law there on racial discrimination grounds. In Florida, officials successfully sued for access to a federal database of noncitizens in hopes of purging them from voter rolls, a move several other states plan to emulate. Advocates say the laws have nothing to do with voter suppression and are about something else entirely: ensuring the integrity of elections, preventing voter fraud and improving public confidence in the electoral process in an era when photo identification is routine for many basic things, including air travel.
Full Article: Tougher Voter ID Laws Set Off Court Battles – NYTimes.com.