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JSPAN Joins Fight Against Voter ID Law

August 2, 2012
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The Jewish Social Policy Action Network joined in a brief filed in a state court last week as part of a challenge to the constitutionality of the Pennsylvania Photo Identification Law.

Opponents have charged that the new law, which requires voters to have a photo ID to cast their ballots, could prevent seniors and minority voters from voting. Proponents contend that the law will curb voter fraud.

The case is fraught with national political implications since Pennsylvania is a key swing state, and it is believed the law could have a disproportionate effect on Democratic voters.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups have filed a lawsuit to overturn the law.

The brief, filed by the Senior Law Center, AARP and others, argues that older Pennsylvanians, including many Jews, will be adversely affected by the law.

Burt Siegel, the vice president of JSPAN who participated in a recent rally against the legislation in Harrisburg, said that when "our grandparents came to America, they were seeking political freedom as well as opportunities that largely did not exist for Jews in places like Russia and Poland."

"I was told that my grandfather, who lost his small grocery business during the Depression, told his sons that they could take away his business but not his right to vote and that he was an American now, and no one could prevent an American from voting."

JSPAN, a liberal advocacy group, focuses on domestic and civil rights issues. It said that protecting the right of all citizens to vote is a high Jewish priority, and an issue with which the group has been actively engaged for years.
 

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