ruled that Florida's plan to shorten early voting hours discriminates against black citizens. Under section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, five Florida counties are ordered to restore early voting hours.
Though the court could restore hours only in the five counties specifically covered by that section, which applies to areas where discrimination was practiced before, it's clear that asserting that the new restrictions discriminate against minority voters applies generally. This might make precedent for other cases, even the Pennsylvania ID law, in federal court. Whether such a case can be brought and decided in time to affect the November election is unclear but doubtful.
The appeal in Commonwealth court to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was filed on Friday. It may be the last chance for timely legal remedy. Also Friday, its most visible plaintiff, 93 year old Viviette Applewhite, finally obtained her temporary ID card which should enable her to vote in November.
Rabid Right sites immediately chortled at the apparent evidence that the case has no merit, but of course they draw exactly the wrong conclusion. It was only through an arduous, time-consuming process, with plenty of aid from others and likely some bending of the rules that less publicized cases won't get, that resulted in this outcome. The photo above shows one early step--obtaining a birth certificate. The Washington Post describes the last steps:
Applewhite received her identification card after riding two public-transit
buses to a Department of Transportation licensing office and presenting a clerk
with her Medicare card from the 1990s, a state document listing her name and
Social Security number in her own handwriting, and proof of her Philadelphia
address, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
None of the documents, however, linked her birth certificate name of Viviette
Virene Brooks to Viviette Applewhite. PennDOT’s licensing bureau director Janet Dolan said Friday that clerks are
able to make exceptions to the document requirements and work with
The Pennsylvania ID law is a blatant effort to take away the voting rights of minority, student and elderly citizens who are likely to vote for Democrats and President Obama. But until that obvious violation of a basic American right can be remedied in court or by legislation, people need to look at what this 93 year old woman did to defy the intent of this law and vote anyway. And they need to do whatever it takes to make their vote count.
It took her not just weeks or even months but years. Her message: "You just have to keep trying,” Applewhite said. “Don’t give up.”
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