My grandmother Elsie lived in rural northern Lebanon County in an old house that lacked indoor plumbing. She lived there until the day she died.
She raised nine children (the tenth died as a preschooler), and managed to get by, sometimes thanks to the potatoes and other vegetables she grew herself. She wasn't always destitute, but she was poor. She never had a car, and she never learned to drive.
One thing she almost always did was vote, and according to my mother, she got in that habit thanks to a friend. A neighbor would call Grandma and ask if she could pick her up and drive her to the local polling place. Without her friend, she would have missed many elections.
Under the scheme that our governor spent years promoting and millions of dollars defending, Grandma would never have voted. In fact, my other grandmother, who also never learned to drive, never would have had the chance either. Honestly, I could not imagine either one of them wading through red tape to get a photo ID issued by the government.
At the polls this week, I observed dozens of people walking up and whipping out their Pennsylvania drivers licenses in case they were needed. Fortunately for all the people like my two grandmothers, Pennsylvania courts ruled against Gov. Tom Corbett's "Voter ID" that he tried to foist on us with plenty of help from the Republicans in the Senate of Pennsylvania.
To be perfectly clear, a voter who is voting for the first time in a precinct must show identification. Unlike Corbett's Voter ID, this requirement allows practically the widest possible definition of identification, including a utility bill showing the voter's name and address.
For some reason, I heard a lot of grousing about the failure of Voter ID. I was even told that "You need photo ID to get yer fishin' license, to buy beer if you look young and bettin' at a casino." Funny thing is that none of those things are a right discussed in multiple amendments to the United States Constitution. Requiring a photo ID hits disadvantaged people the hardest, including those of who live in cities and typically rely on public transportation.
As the Republicans began passing laws requiring a photo ID to vote, they trotted out horsefeathers arguments about "voter fraud." It was the favorite topic of a former coworker of mine, who watched his favorite news channel and was convinced that while voter turnout seemed low throughout Pennsylvania, it was "250 percent" in all Philadelphia's Democratic-leaning precincts. This led to several exhaustive studies of in-person voter fraud. Turns out it was more codswallop than imagined, except in Pennsylvania, where it was pure "Tomfoolery," in honor of our governor.
I appreciate the efforts of those who sued Pennsylvania and kept this twaddle from going into effect and preventing elligble people from voting.