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Groups Highlight Pa. Voter ID Law’s Impact on Puerto Ricans

(Voting rights advocates handed out literature in English and Spanish to those attending the panel discussion in  Kensington.  Credit: Tim Jimenez)

(Voting rights advocates handed out literature in English and Spanish to those attending the panel discussion in Kensington. Credit: Tim Jimenez)

Tim Jimenez Tim Jimenez
Tim Jimenez is a general assignment reporter at KYW Newsradio...
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By Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A panel discussion and press conference this afternoon on Pennsylvania’s new Voter ID law spotlighted how it may affect Puerto Rican-born voters.

At the Lighthouse Gymnasium in Kensington, the discussion centered on the new law and its connection with a related issue that surfaced two years ago.

“In 2010, Puerto Rican birth certificates were held to be invalid. So this means that any Puerto Rican that was born on the island has to renew their birth certificate,” notes Juan Carlos Ibarra with the Advancement Project.

Ibarra says the renewal process has proved difficult and long for many, with some Puerto Rico natives still waiting to get their applications approved.

“When you combine that with the need for photo ID, it creates this doubling effect for a huge number,” he says.  “Over half the Latino population in Philadelphia is Puerto Rican, and a large number of them were born on the island.”

Those on the panel, including reps from local and statewide organizations, say they’re fighting the law.  But for now, they say, educating local communities on the process and how to comply with it are key to getting the most number of people out to the polls in November.

 

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