A 93-year-old great-great grandmother who alleges she will be disenfranchised by Pennsylvania's recently enacted voter ID law heads to trial on Wednesday.
In legal action backed by the ACLU and NAACP, Viviette Applewhite claims she no longer possesses any of the documents she needs to get a photo ID. Without it, she won't be able to cast a ballot this November in the Keystone State. It's the latest clash in an ongoing back-and-forth between voter ID advocates and opponents.
Voter ID supporters argue that identification requirements for registered voters helps prevent voter fraud, ensuring the integrity of elections.
Adversaries say the ID requirements stand as a solution in search of a problem. The studies they cite suggest voter fraud occurs only in isolated incidents. By most calculations, shark attacks and UFO sightings are far more common. The laws to address such infrequent crimes, on the other hand, come at a huge potential cost toeligible voters -- particularly minorities, college students and the elderly. Some registered voters may be left disenfranchised by the laws, say voter ID opponents, but more worrisome are the institutionalized obstacles to voting that they say will discourage countless legitimate voters -- especially those who tend to lean Democratic -- from participating in elections.
The U.S. Department of Justice has stepped in as debate rages over voter ID law merits. So far, the U.S. has declined to approve strict new measures passed by Republican-controlled legislatures in South Carolina and Texas, arguing that they deserve scrutiny in federal courts. Earlier this week, the Justice Departmentannounced it was investigating a similar law in Pennsylvania.
While voter ID proponents maintain that new provisions requiring photo identification are sensible and not overburdensome, despite some evidence to the contrary, the situation isn't always so simple.