On September 22nd, the Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC discussed the problem that may be facing millions of recently married or divorced women this Election Day, especially in Pennsylvania where a controversial voter ID has returned to a lower court: voter disenfranchisement, and a “tax” on women who may be forced to get more than one legal photo ID to comply. The Brennan Center for Justice estimates that up to 34% of voting-age women with have proof of citizenship may not have documents with their current legal name, due to a change in their marital status.
As Arturo Garcia at Raw Story explains: “According to the state’s controversial voter identification law, women who have changed their last name must present two forms of identification — the state voter ID issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and a separate government-issued ID or driver’s license. By comparison, male voters only need the former.”
The relevant requirement is tucked away into a footnoted section of the Pennsylvania Department of State Voter ID rules: “[A] voter who recently changed her name by reason of marriage presents a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license or Pennsylvania ID card accompaniedby a PennDOT update card, which is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the Voter ID law regarding proof of identification.”
NWO Truth says: “Earlier this week, the state Supreme Court ordered that the law be reviewed, with a ruling of the availability of the PennDot documents due by Oct. 2. The lead plaintiff in the case contesting the law, 93-year-old Viviette Applewhite, was recently granted a state ID even though the law still stands.”
If poll workers cry foul over discrepancies between a female voter’s current legal name and address and the name and address on her photo ID — changes that could be due to a recent marriage or divorce, or moving in with or away from a current or former spouse — that voter could be turned away at the polls in states which have new strict photo ID laws.
As Harris-Perry and Ari Berman explained on The Melissa Harris-Perry Show, requiring multiple forms of ID for women amounts to an unfair added expense or “tax” to vote, and is likely to, at the very least, lead to confusion at the polls on Election Day:
“You need not one, but two forms of ID if you are a [woman]—there is officially a tax on being a woman in Pennsylvania if you want to vote,” Harris-Perry said.
Ari Berman, who has covered voter ID laws extensively for The Nation magazine, added that Pennsylvania voters would also be subject to the individual discretion of [31,000 individual] workers at over 9,000 different polling places. ”We’re talking about, at the very least, a lot of chaos on election day,” he said.
Viewers of The Melissa Harris-Perry Show share their personal experiences:
RubysGirl: “I experienced this when I moved to Florida in May. First they wouldn’t take my hospital long form birth certificate — they insisted upon a certified certificate. Ironic that Tea Party folks wouldn’t accept the President’s certified certificate, but rather wanted to see his hospital long form. Because my married name was different from my birth certificate, I had to produce my marriage license. I don’t know about you, but I have no idea where my license is — plus, we had just moved to Florida and we were not unpacked. I had to order the marriage license from Colorado. In the process, I remembered that I had used my previous marriage name on the marriage license. So I also had to order my divorce papers from Illinois. In all, I had to spend about $60, plus travel costs. This is ridiculous and sad that the Republicans feel they can’t win an election [honestly] so they have to suppress the vote to steal it. Good news, though: I did get registered to vote.”
Penelope Sterling: “Try getting a driver’s license in SC. It took me ten years and I drove on a license from another state till I could meet all the requirements for SC, the last of which was asking for my DIVORCE papers. It’s a good reason to stay with your birth name if you want to be counted as a citizen of the U.S. without hassle.”
Callmecarol: “It also affects women in WY. In order to get a drivers license every four years, we have to provide our birth certificate, marriage license to provide proof of name change and proof of address, etc. It’s disgraceful.”
kathy Sine: I still don’t know why there is not more Federal pressure put on these states. It should go to the Supreme Court. At these polling places I hope individuals without the IDs say they are going to vote and see what happens.
Don’t Call Me Mrs.: “Here in Quebec, women are strongly discouraged by the government from changing their names upon getting married. As a Quebec resident, married in Quebec, I would have to spend a small fortune in legal fees to change my name. The advantage being that I don’t have this problem. I’m not saying it’s the best solution or that it would work anywhere else, just that it’s how the govenment of Quebec solved this problem.”
Here’s the video: