GOP, Dems Help Philly Seniors Get Voter IDs
Cathedral Village event serves as forum for senior citizens to learn about PA Voter ID Law.
In her lifetime, Colleen Alexander has voted more than 100 times—"Every primary and general election for well over 50 years," she said. Despite an expired driver's license, she won't let the new PA Voter ID Law stop her.
With help from Democratic and Republican city officials, senior citizen communities—like Cathedral Village in Andorra—have created valid forms of identification that will work come Election Day.
Republican City Commissioner Al Schmidt, 21st Ward Democratic Leader Lou Agre and Al Spivey, Jr., chief of staff for City Councilman Curtis Jones (D-4), spent Friday morning fielding questions from senior citizens on the new Pennsylvania law, which requires citizens to show photo IDs prior to casting a ballot, at the Cathedral Road living community.
"Cathedral Village took the effort to make sure all seniors living here have valid ID to vote. No matter how you vote, the important part is that you do it," Agre said.
The ward leader for Roxborough, Manayunk and Andorra was vocal in his opposition of the new law, but he and other politicians emphasized that educating the electorate was a top priority.
"Yes, I'm a Democrat with a big 'D,' but I'm also a democrat with a little 'd,'" he said.
Schmidt, with his two Democratic city commissioner counterparts, is tasked with administering elections for Philadelphia.
"My office, plus the other two commissioners, have pretty aggressive outreach program," he said.
Working with the Committee of Seventy, Democrats and Republicans alike are organizing outreach events and ID clinics to make sure citizens know the requirements.
One key aspect is ensuring IDs have expiration dates. Cathedral Village recently complied with that aspect and updated photos, as well.
While everyone at the Andorra event felt confident they could vote, some residents wondered how other citizens could acquire IDs.
In addition to the voter ID hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683), Schmidt said Pennsylvania Department of Transportation centers are open later every Thursday if residents need IDs, which are free.
Additionally, all three said several mailers will go out in upcoming weeks, alerting residents to check their IDs.
And if people have a hang up on Election Day, Spivey said people should remember to file a provisional ballot.
"The onus is on us as citizens to request one. You, as a voter, have the ability to vote provisionally. So make sure you request one if there is a problem," he said.
In that case, resident have six days to present proper ID in court to make the vote count. And if there's a tight election, Agre said political parties will certainly ensure people can get to courts.
"We will help with vans to get people to courts. And if it's really close, I'm sure we'll be taking some of you down in a limousine," he said.
For more information on the PA Voter ID law, visit VotesPa.org.