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Court challenge to Pa. voter ID law begins

July 25, 2012 at 5:29 PM

HARRISBURG, Pa., July 25 (UPI) -- A 93-year-old great-great-grandmother testified Wednesday she could be turned away from the voting booth in Pennsylvania because of lack of ID.

Viviette Applewhite, a native of Philadelphia, was the first witness at a hearing on the state's stringent new voter ID law, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. She said her identification was stolen several years ago and she has been unable to get new copies of many items.

Applewhite said she has voted in almost every presidential election she has been eligible for, missing one because she could not find the polling place.

Supporters of the Pennsylvania law, and similar legislation in other states where Republicans now control legislatures and governor's offices, is needed to prevent election fraud. Critics say fraud is rare and the laws are aimed at keeping voters from exercising their rights.

"We will show that the integrity of the electoral process is not enhanced by turning away people at the ballot box," said David Gersh, one of the lawyers challenging the law.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Patrick Cawley said the state is educating voters on what they need to do and providing free identification for those who need it.

"A great many hurdles have already been removed from the path of voters who want to vote," Cawley said.

As the hearing opened in Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg, Judge Robert Simpson said he is a "way station" to the state Supreme Court, which will make the final decision.

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