By Cherri Gregg
HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — The courtroom was filled to capacity today as attorneys for the ACLU and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania began the day with opening arguments, followed by testimony from voter plaintiffs over the state’s new controversial requirement that voters have acceptable photo identification.
Attorney David Gersh of the firm Arnold and Porter argued for both plaintiffs that the law is unconstitutional because it places unnecessary obstacles on voters.
He claims women, the elderly, those with low incomes, and minorities have a tough time getting birth certificates and other documentation.
“It’s been like hell for me,” says lead plaintiff Viviette Applewhite, 93, who testified that she’s been trying for years to get acceptable ID.
“I got into this for one thing — to be able to vote, which is all I want to do. To be able to vote,” Applewhite told reporters today.
Patrick Cawley of the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office argued on behalf of the state that photo ID is a part of life. He says the state’s new, free, more accessible photo ID, which will be rolled out next month, will ensure that no voters are turned away.
Judge Robert Simpson says he expects to rule on the case in mid-August.