Washington, DC – The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP) issued the following statement in response to Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson’s decision to postpone the state’s new voter identification requirement:
Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of NCBCP and convener, Black Women’s Roundtable said, “I commend Judge Simpson for recognizing the fact that the rigorous Pennsylvania voter identification requirement will likely disenfranchise voters. It is clear that the recent voter ID laws passed across the country are blatant attempts to stop minorities and the poor from exercising their constitutional right to vote. Even though it is temporary, it’s a step in the right direction for this judge to make a decision to go forward, not back to the days of poll taxes and literacy tests.”
“The Pennsylvania law was an obvious attempt to make the electorate less inclusive – eliminating minorities, elderly and poor people from voting,” adds Richard Womack, Jr. NCBCP Pennsylvania coordinator. “In our efforts to help eligible voters secure a state-issued photo ID we encountered long lines and a lot of confusion. deferment Judge Simpson’s decision will allow thousands of citizens to participate in this election.”
“The ruling is a partial victory,” adds Faye Anderson, NCBCP PA co-coordinator and project manager for the Cost of Freedom Project. “While voters will be asked to show a photo ID, they will not be required to present an acceptable form of photo ID in order to cast a regular ballot. But in the run-up to Election Day, the Pennsylvania Department of State will be allowed to continue its “Show it” voter outreach campaign. To minimize voter confusion, DOS should shove the PR campaign and spend resources training poll workers on the new rules.”
Since 1976 the NCBCP has served as an effective convener and facilitator to address the disenfranchisement of underserved and other marginalized communities through civic engagement. Current programs of the National Coalition include Black Youth Vote!, Black Women’s Roundtable and the Unity 2012 Voter Empowerment Campaign. With the 2012 theme “Stand Your Ground” the Unity 2012 campaign works nationally to ensure that black voters register to vote, secure proper ID, verify their voting status, and are allowed to cast a vote that counts on election day. For more visit www.ncbcp.org.