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PennDOT Will Keep Phila. Centers Open a Few More Hours Each Week For Voter IDs

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia won a modest victory this week in its effort to make sure the city's voters have the photo ID required by a new state law.  Penndot -- which issues the most common ID -- has announced it will keep its five Philadelphia centers open until 7pm on Thursdays, between September 27th and Election Day.

Mayor Michael Nutter (below) told a coalition of voting rights advocates today that he'd sent a list of requests to the governor and the secretary of the commonwealth asking for dedicated voter ID employees and longer hours at all Penndot centers every day until Election Day.

So, although he welcomes the extra hours on Thursdays, he says much more is needed.

"One of the things I envisioned was either, with a mobile unit, to go neighborhood to neighborhood, or to try to find Penndot some satellite locations," the mayor said.

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(Mayor Nutter, at lectern, addresses a coalition of voting rights groups. Credit: Pat Loeb)


The voter ID coalition includes groups that work with the elderly and disabled, the NAACP, the voting watchdog group Committee of 70, and city government itself.

Nutter says the city, for its part, plans an education blitz and will provide transportation to Penndot centers so that the law does not end up suppressing the vote.

"If this goes forward unchallenged, what about next year and the years after that, and the years after that?  This is the stand that must be taken right now," Nutter said, clearly irked by the law that critics say was designed to lower voter turnout among traditionally Democratic demographic groups such as the elderly.

State officials say the law will prevent in-person voter fraud, a crime the state admits it has no record of.

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