Lining up at Center City DMV - some to get voter IDs, others to protest the new law

At the PennDot office in Center City, Kelvin Croom (left) of Philadelphia, after getting his voter ID and registering to vote, is congratulated by John Jordan of NAACP Pennsylvania. Several activist groups were on hand. APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer
The queues were long at PennDot's Center City motor vehicle office Wednesday as prospective voters lined up for free photo IDs, promised as part of a new state law requiring voters to show identification at the polls.

A provision in the law, which takes effect for the November election, allows applicants to have the $13.50 ID fee waived if they sign an affidavit affirming that the card is only to be used for voting.

Lying in that affidavit could bring a two-year prison term.

Critics say the law will disenfranchise the homeless, the elderly, and the poor, as well as costing the state millions. Proponents of the bill, passed March 14, say it will help protect voters' rights and deter fraud.

A collective-action group of local organizations gathered Wednesday outside the state Department of Transportation center at Eighth and Arch Streets and questioned whether rights were ever in danger in the first place.

"There's no evidence that it needs to be protected," said State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams (D., Phila). He said state Senate Democrats had retained counsel and hoped to seek court action within the next few days.

The ACLU is also planning to file suit in the next month.  

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Corey Rogers