Huffpost Politics

Pennsylvania Voter ID: Retired Nuns Criticize Law As 'Very Unkind'

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PENNSYLVANIA VOTER ID
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signed the voter i.d. law in March. | AP

A group of retired Pennsylvania nuns has criticized the state's contested voter identification law as "unkind, unfair and ridiculous" because of the hardships it imposes on senior citizens.

The nuns, who reside at the Our Lady of Peace Center in Scranton, told the Scranton Times-Tribune that they received help obtaining identification cards they'll need to vote. But some seniors may not get help and as a result, may be unable to vote. One of the nuns called the law "very, very unkind, unfair and ridiculous."

The comments come as a state judge is set to rule Tuesday on the law, signed by Gov. Tom Corbett (R) in March.

The Times-Tribune reports:

The sisters represent "thousands and thousands of elder Pennsylvanians facing a similar exclusion from their lifelong participation in the democratic process. If the Voting Act of 2012 is maintained in the courts, the seniors will have a serious violation of their rights visited upon them. It must not be allowed to stand," the sisters wrote.

One of the acceptable forms of identification is a card issued by a care facility, but because Our Lady of Peace is not licensed by the state, the cards are not valid, said Sister Eleanor Mary Marconi, I.H.M., assistant administrator at OLP.

Sister Marconi has acted as an advocate for her fellow sisters, accompanying them on trips to the Driver Licensing Center in Dunmore.

Commonwealth Judge Robert Simpson Jr. is set to rule Tuesday on whether the law has given Pennsylvania residents enough time to obtain the identification card to vote in the November election. The state Supreme Court asked Simpson to review the state's efforts to help residents obtain the ID and block the law from taking effect if those efforts are insufficient.

Voter ID laws also have been an issue for senior citizens in other states. Concerns were raised over the summer that nursing home residents in Kansas did not have the opportunity to obtain the cards. One facility in Peabody, Kan., reported that the state's assistant secretary of state visited to issue the cards.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) has said he conducted a comprehensive voter education campaign to implement the ID. card law that he championed. Kansas state Rep. Ann Mah (D-Topeka), the ranking minority member of the state House Elections Committee, has questioned Kobach's management of the education program.

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