Great-Grandmother Will Fight Pa. Voter ID Law
Joyce Block, 90, was part of the lawsuit against Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law and said she isn’t giving up, even after a state court upheld the law.
Joyce Block said she was disgusted by the state court’s upholding of the law which requires Pennsylvania voters to show an approved identification card before they can vote.
“This is disgraceful. They disenfranchise so many people, and I’m just thoroughly disgusted,” Block said Wednesday morning. “I’m glad we’re going to appeal it. It isn’t over yet.”
Block, who is 90, tried to get an identification card from the PennDOT office in Dublin, Bucks County, but was denied.
Her birth certificate and Social Security card are in her maiden name, Joyce Lucille Altman, but her Medicare card and current utility bills are in her married name, Block.
“He couldn’t understand why I had a different name,” Block said of the PennDOT employee who refused her. “I told him it was because when I was born, I didn’t know I was going to marry a Block.”
Block said she couldn’t prove her marriage because her marriage certificate is in Hebrew and PennDOT wouldn’t accept it.
She eventually got her ID, with the help of her grandson-in-law, Det Ansinn, who called on state Sen. Chuck McIlhinney to intervene.
But she joined the American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the law because she knows not everyone would have the connections or the wherewithal to ask a state senator for help voting.
“I was still incensed. I’m worried about the people who live in Philadelphia who weren’t given birth certificates,” Block said. “Years ago, black people were treated like non people, and not given birth certificates. What are they going to do?”
While the court fight continues, others, like Block’s granddaughter’s husband, said efforts must ramp up to educate voters about what they will need to be able to vote on Election Day.
Det Ansinn, a Democrat and president of Doylestown Borough Council, said local groups have started trying to reach voters, but said county government should be doing more to reach voters.
“Various local groups have stepped up to the plate, trying to do their best, seeing this is a problem, stepping in and filling the void where government hasn’t really fulfilled its role,” he said.
“Educating people is going to be very important,” Ansinn concluded. “We’re going to have to fight very hard to protect a citizen’s right to vote.”