IHM nuns lacking voter ID; call law ‘unfair and ridiculous’

For decades, Sister Jeanne Gallagher, I.H.M., taught young children about government and the importance of voting.

As the November election nears, the 86-year-old nun and retired teacher fears the state’s controversial Voter ID law will keep her and other senior citizens from having their say in who leads the country.

Sister Gallagher and 23 other nuns from the Our Lady of Peace residence, the retirement home for the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary congregation, lack the identification needed to vote in November. Another 11 nuns recently received state-issued identification cards. One 95-year-old sister had to wait four hours at the Driver Licensing Center in Dunmore.

But these nuns say while the state’s voter identification law is an inconvenience to them, they have people who will drive them to the center. They also have other sisters who will gladly help them find the paperwork needed for the card.

They worry about the senior citizens who do not have that help.

“I think it’s very, very unkind, unfair and ridiculous,” Sister Gallagher said of the law, which earlier this month state Supreme Court sent back to the Commonwealth Court for a judge to determine whether voters would be disenfranchised by the law.

That would be the case, the nuns said on Wednesday, in the room at the Our Lady of Peace center that serves as their ward’s polling place. For years, the nuns, some with walkers and some in wheelchairs, have only needed to make it to the room off the lobby to cast their votes.

The law requires anyone voting this November to produce a photo ID with an expiration date, which can range from a driver’s license to a U.S. passport. Supporters say the law is necessary to prevent voter fraud, while opponents point out that there have been no documented cases of in-person voter fraud and the process of obtaining an ID can be difficult and is intended to discourage people from voting.

Read on at the Scranton Times-Tribune.

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