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Group Fighting Pa. Voter ID Law Takes On Expanded Voting-Rights Role

(Pa. Voting Rights Coalition operations chief Joe Certaine, at lectern, describes the group's newly expanded mission.  Credit: Cherri Gregg)

(Pa. Voting Rights Coalition operations chief Joe Certaine, at lectern, describes the group’s newly expanded mission. Credit: Cherri Gregg)

Gregg_Cherrie--NEW Cherri Gregg
Cherri Gregg is the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsr...
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By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The nonpartisan Pennsylvania Voter ID Coalition announced today that it has a new name and a broader focus as the controversial voter ID law heads back to court next week.

The Pennsylvania Voter ID Coalition is now the Pennsylvania Voting Rights Coalition, and they’re re-energized and refocused.

“If one citizen is deprived of the right to vote, that’s one too many,” said Joe Certaine, the coalition’s chief of operations.  Certaine (at lectern in photo) says they want to ensure the public understands that the Voter ID law is not dead yet.

“Our coalition is launching a voting registration and outreach campaign to educate voters with accurate information about the status of the law,” he said.  “We will hold voter ID assistance clinics as necessary in union halls, religious facilities, and other traditional and non-traditional meeting places in targeted communities.”

Several groups such as the NAACP, the Senior Law Center, and various unions all pledged volunteer and financial support.

“We believe voting is a right and a responsibility,” said Pete Matthews, president of public employees’ union District Council 33.

The local branch of the NAACP says the coalition will hold a rally inside the capitol in Harrisburg on Thursday.   The voter ID trial begins on Monday (see related story).

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania says that roughly one percent of otherwise eligible voters do not have proper ID, but the coalition says that number is higher.  Critics of the law say it was a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise voter segments — particularly minorities — that traditionally favor Democrats.

 

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