The York NAACP president did not mince words about the group's position concerning Pennsylvania's new voter identification law.
"We are against it, period," said Sandra Thompson, the group's president. "If you're going to have (the law), why not do it in a way that votes are not suppressed when you know that such a high number of people are going to be affected?"
There is no documentation of voter fraud to warrant such a law, said Thompson, who is an attorney.
She said the York NAACP plans to participate in a rally in opposition to the law at 1 p.m. Tuesday on the steps of the State Capitol in Harrisburg.
The York group plans to take a bus to the rally and will leave York at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday from the Walmart parking lot area at the West Manchester Mall, 1800 Loucks Road.
There is room for 44 people. Each rider will be asked to donate $5 to help pay transportation costs for the trip. The bus will return to York at 4 p.m.,
The rally is a joint effort of the American Civil Liberties Union, the State Conference National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the League of Women Voters.
Those groups have filed lawsuits to overturn the voter ID law, which goes into effect this fall. They're holding the rally a day before hearings on the matter begin in Commonwealth Court.
In November, people without identification will have to cast a provisional ballot and will have six days to fax, email or show in person a photo ID to the county's elections office.
The ID has to be a government-issued, unexpired photo identification card, such as a driver's license or Department of Transportation-issued non-driver's identification card, a passport, military identification, or an employee photo identification issued by county, state, federal or municipal government.
Early estimates, done when lawmakers were considering the voter ID bill, had about 90,000 voters statewide lacking a driver's license. Now the number is up to about 759,000.
The law is meant to help deter voter fraud, although the Department of State has said the state doesn't keep track of documented cases of voter fraud and couldn't cite specific instances of it occurring.
How to get one: To get an ID, Pennsylvania residents can visit a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation office and fill out an Oath Affirmation form. A Social Security card, a birth certificate or certificate of U.S. citizenship or naturalization, and two other proof of identification methods are needed, such as a utility bill or lease.
If a person doesn't have a birth certificate, PennDOT is willing to call to confirm the details with state records on behalf of the customer. PennDOT will issue the identification cards -- which typically cost $10 -- free to people who say they need them to vote. Thompson said the voter ID law violates laws that prohibit the state from mandating the public to pay fees to vote.
In order to get the photo ID required by the voting law, people would have to use birth, marriage or divorce certificates to verify their identities or the surnames they now use. There are fees associated with obtaining those certificates if people don't have them at hand, Thompson said.
Several people would have to travel out of state to get their birth certificates. Many people don't have driver's licenses because they use public transportation, she said. Even using money to pay for a cab, bus or gas needed to go to a PennDOT office to get the required ID for voting is considered a fee, she said.
The York NAACP has been working to get people registered to vote and to help them work through identification issues that could result in their being turned away at the polls in November, Thompson said.
"We want to educate the community on their rights and responsibilities," she said. "And we're encouraging people to join us for this rally."
If you go:A rally to oppose the new voter ID law is at 1 p.m. Tuesday on the steps of the State Capitol in Harrisburg.
The York NAACP will take a bus to the rally. Boarding time is 11:30 a.m. Tuesday from the Walmart parking lot area at the West Manchester Mall, 1800 Loucks Road.
There is room for 44 people. Each rider will be asked to give a $5 donation to help pay transportation costs. The bus will return to York at 4 p.m.
For information, call Sandra Thompson at 577-4436.
--Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at email@example.com.