Voter ID Law Opponents Rally in Easton
A rally against Pennsylvania's new Voter ID law drew about 65 people to Easton's Centre Square as the state Supreme Court considers a formal challenge to the law.
A peaceful but energetic rally against Pennsylvania's new Voter ID law drew about 65 people to Centre Square in Easton on Saturday.
The recurring message of the event was that Pennsylvania’s the law amounts to naked suppression of a basic American civil right.
“Causing people to go through all these hoops is un-American,” declared Easton Mayor Sal Panto, the first of a lengthy roster of speakers who passed around a bullhorn.
“We know that this was done politically,” said Panto, who added that it was the rushed “process” more than the law itself that concerned him.
Organized by Easton’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the rally attracted a disparate array of community and religious leaders, Democratic Party officials and activists, and citizens united by opposition to the new law.
Again and again, speakers underlined the notion that all citizens, whatever their politics, ought to be concerned about the law.
“I don’t care if you follow the donkey, the elephant, or drink the tea,” said the NAACP’s local political action chair, Mark Robinson, the principal organizer of the rally. When voter rights are suppressed, he said, everyone loses.
“The new voter ID law is voter suppression, plain and simple,” said state Rep. Bob Freeman, D-136th District, who argued that many legitimately registered voters will be denied a vote because of the law.
Freeman presented a scenario in which an elderly World War II veteran of D-Day, who can no longer drive and thus possesses no ID, walks into the same site he has voted at for 40 years and suddenly discovers he can no longer vote.
Another speaker, Joan M. Dean, president of the League of Women Voters of Northampton County, said that the non-partisan organization had taken a stand against the law.
Dean advises anyone with questions about the law to visit Votespa.com.
She said that her organization is trying to get the word out to campuses, elder care centers, soup kitchens and other places where citizens lacking valid or current IDs might congregate.
Despite the non-partisan oratory, there were numerous people at the rally wearing pro-Obama and pro-Democrat buttons and garments.
The law was upheld last month by a Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson, who is from Nazareth. It is being challenged before the Pa. Supreme Court, which heard arguments Thursday.
Free photo IDs for voting are available at PennDOT driver's license centers, including the one in at the 25th Street shopping center in Palmer Township.
Editor's Note: The story has been revised to correct attribution for a quote to Mark Robinson of the NAACP.