SeniorLAW Center and AARP filed an amicus brief in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Voter ID litigation on August 30th, 2012, on behalf of ten national, statewide and local aging organizations, underscoring the impact of the Voter ID law on the rights of older Pennsylvanians to vote

As Appellant Bea Bookler testified in the Commonwealth Court hearing below about complying with Act 18’s photo ID requirements, for many seniors, “It’s too hard.”  The Commonwealth Court essentially agreed, recognizing that “the elderly and infirm who have difficulty traveling” face a “heavier burden” to comply with Act 18.  The result of Act 18 is that for most elderly voters without photo ID their right to vote is substantially burdened and they will have substantial trouble complying with its requirements.

The photo identification requirements in Act 18 will make exercising the franchise “so difficult as to amount to a denial” for many other older Pennsylvanians.  Act 18 is therefore an unconstitutional exercise of the civil power in that it interferes with the free exercise of the right of suffrage and violates the constitutional guarantee of free and equal elections.  We respectfully request that this Court enjoin enforcement of Act 18 to preserve the “sacred right” of suffrage for all Pennsylvanians.

In the amicus brief, SeniorLAW Center and AARP demonstrated that:

Act 18’s identification requirement imposes a heavy burden on Pennsylvania’s seniors.

  • Pennsylvania’s seniors are disproportionately burdened by Act 18’s identification requirements because seniors more so than any other demographic are without acceptable identification.
  • Pennsylvania’s seniors face a disproportionate risk of losing their franchise due to serious mobility- and access-related challenges impeding their ability to visit a PennDOT center.
  • Older Pennsylvanians face additional barriers to voting at the polls under the provisions of Act 18.

The Court below erred by concluding there would be other relief for those burdened by Act 18.

  • Absentee voting is only available to those that demonstrate a special eligibility to voting by absentee ballot.
  • Provisional voting also does not offer voters any relief from the burdens of Act 18’s identification requirements.
  • Judicial relief is not the solution that the Commonwealth Court envisioned and risk overwhelming the election courts.

Act 18’s identification requirements impose irrational double standards for voters and thus violate the state constitutional guarantee of “Free and Equal” elections under any level of scrutiny.

Absentee voters are favored over all other voters, particularly voters who cast provisional ballots.

Certain nongovernmental institutions and the voters associated therewith are favored over other institutions and voters.

The residency documentation requirements for the DOS ID are an arbitrary burden serving no purpose under Act 18.

Click here for Amicus Brief filed on behalf of SeniorLAW Center, AARP, Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly, Pennsylvania Alliance For Retired Americans, The Pennsylvania Homecare Association, Eldernet of Lower Merion and Narberth, The Institute for Leadership Education, Advancement and Development, Intercommunity Action, Inc. and Jewish Social Policy Action Net.