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Philly Groups Join Push on State Voter Law

Philadelphia-area Jewish groups are joining a coalition to educate people about a new state voter ID law that they are concerned could prevent some senior citizens from casting a ballot in the 2012 presidential election.

To vote in Pennsylvania in November, voters must now produce a government-issued ID or driver’s license. Residents of licensed, long-term residential facilities for seniors can vote by absentee ballot.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the Anti-Defamation League have joined the Pennsylvania Voter ID Coalition, a group of more than 100 regional and statewide civic and community organizations that seeks to educate the public about the law, according to the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent.

The ADL opposes the law, but the federation not taken a stand, the newspaper reported. The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups have filed a lawsuit to overturn the statute.

An estimated 758,000 registered voters in the state – nearly 10 percent of the electorate – are not eligible to vote due to the new measure, according to the Jewish Exponent.

Representatives of Jewish and other groups in the coalition stressed that their concerns were non-partisan.

“We think it is a civic responsibility to try and encourage people to vote,” Robin Schatz, the federation’s director of government affairs, told the Jewish Exponent.

Both the federation and ADL are helping the coalition locate Jewish venues to host voter-education sessions, the newspaper added.

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