by Sue Ann Rybak
One poll worker said there was a line when the polls opened this morning (Tuesday, Nov. 5) at the Chestnut Hill Friends Meeting House, 100 East Mermaid Lane.
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson’s decision to issue a partial injunction against the state’s Voter ID law, which according to one study would have disenfranchised up to 700, 000 registered voters who lacked state-approved ID, means that every registered voter in Pennsylvania can vote in today’s Presidential election.
The Voter ID law has been a hot-button issue in this year’s Presidential election.
Zack Stalberg, President of the Committee of Seventy, a non-partisan organization that works to ensure fair elections, said he expects problems at the polls.
Philadelphia Voters can call the Committee of Seventy hotline, at 866-OURVOTE to report any problems.
The Local talked to Betsy Masters, a Democratic committeewoman in the 4th Division, about Hurricane Sandy’s effect on voting in Chestnut Hill.
“There were two trees down ,which were blocking the road on Saturday, so even pedestrians couldn’t get by,” Masters said. “At 5 a.m. On Saturday, I began calling and emailing people to get them removed.”
She added that it was extremely important that people be able “to get here today.” Masters declined to comment on the controversial voter ID law.
Bob Rossman, Republican committeeman for the 4th Division, said the voter ID law was a good idea. He said he didn’t think voter fraud was a problem in Chestnut Hill.
“It doesn’t solve a problem in this district,” Rossman said. “ I suspect that there are places in Philadelphia where people do vote early and often. I think it is a real problem.”
Nicholas Langan, an area voter, adamantly disagreed.
“I am very against voter suppression,” Langan said.
Langan said he brought an expired driver’s license, which was more than a year old and a government-issued doctor card with his signature.
Langan said if the purpose of the law really is to verify your identity, then that should do it.
He added that PENNDot didn’t require him to show any other identification except his expired driver’s license before they issued him a new one.
“If it’s good enough for that government department, it should be good enough for Governor Tom Corbett,” Langan said.
Ginger Arthur, 58, another voter, disagreed.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Arthur said.
Arthur said she has friend who is a former district attorney who said there is “rampant abuse of voter fraud.”
“I think there should be someway to double check,” Arthur said.
Arthur, a lifelong independent who said she has never missed voting in an election, voted for Mitt Romney.
“It’s about jobs,” Arthur said. “My husband’s industry has been decimated.”
Marilyn Johnson, a psychotherapist, voted for Obama because she was not impressed by Romney’s perspective.
“I think he [Obama] has done a very good job in very difficult circumstances,” said Johnson, who was happy the court decided to postpone the voter ID law.
“I had to bring ID because this was the first time I voted in this neighborhood,” said Johnson, who decline to give her age but said she was a baby boomer. “After gathering all the required information to vote, I realized how complicated it could be for people who didn’t have a photo ID.”
Kathleen McCafferty, 28, had mixed feelings about the voter ID law.
“I think they should give people a little bit more time to learn about it before the election,” said McCafferty, the mother of a 6-month-old girl.
McCafferty said she voted for President Obama because she was concerned about middle-class families and low-income families.
“Healthcare is a big issue for me,” McCafferty said. “We don’t make a lot of money. We’re concerned about our daughter’s future. We want to make sure she can go to college.”
William Valiante, 30, McCafferty’s husband, said this was the first time he voted for a Democrat in a while.
“We like the philosophy of ‘we’re all in this together,’” Valiante said.
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