GUY RAZ, HOST:
Let's stick with politics and Pennsylvania, where the state's Supreme Court is considering a challenge to a lower court's ruling that upheld the state's tough voter ID law. Voting rights activists say that law will disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of people. But recently, those groups have shifted strategy.
They've gone from trying to overturn the law to now working on getting up to a million official IDs into the hands of people without them. From member station WRTI in Philadelphia, Timothy Churchill reports.
TIMOTHY CHURCHILL, BYLINE: The ID law requires a state-issued photo card to vote. Supporters say it will help prevent voter fraud. State officials recently estimated it's possible nearly 200,000 Philadelphia residents alone don't have proper ID. Philadelphia resident Bob Previdi works with the Pennsylvania Voter ID Coalition, which has launched a tightly coordinated information and transportation campaign with the city. Previdi says many people have expressed confusion about the voter ID law's requirements. Now, it's time for a concerted forward push.
BOB PREVIDI: The law is the law. We've got to get people to understand what it is and make sure that they have the appropriate ID. The days and time of complaining about the law, it doesn't do good right now. We just got to get to work. We got to make sure our friends, our neighbors, our relatives all know about the law.
CHURCHILL: Pennsylvania officials have said nobody's ever been prosecuted for in-person voter fraud in the state.
AUDREY TRAYNHAM: We've had folks who've died for this civil right. The right to vote. The right to have a voice. Register to vote.
CHURCHILL: At this recent rally, Philadelphian Audrey Traynham works a small crowd outside a Department of Motor Vehicles center where residents go for state-issued IDs.
TRAYNHAM: I wasn't recruited by anyone. I just feel like it's my civic duty to make sure that my community members, my co-workers, my family members, everybody has their chance to vote.
CHURCHILL: Residents are required to bring a Social Security number and two items with their name and address, like a utility bill and pay stub. Willie Clyde Allen was one of a handful of people hoping to obtain a voter ID. He says he's been turned down in the past for a state-issued non-driver's ID.
WILLIE CLYDE ALLEN: Everything on my birth certificate was right except for Willie. It was Willis, W-I-L-L-I-S, instead of I-E, and that was considered as two different people. That was not acceptable.
CHURCHILL: Activists are also helping with transportation. Lessie Hill lives in a low-income senior apartment complex in the south Philadelphia. She says she's helped roughly 80 neighbors.
LESSIE HILL: Hardly any of them doesn't drive because, you know, they're all different elements and stuff like this: Alzheimer's, in wheelchairs and stuff like this here. Mm-hmm.
CHURCHILL: If the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturns the voter ID law, residents can vote the way they always have. Voting rights activists say that's not a chance they're willing to take. For NPR News, I'm Timothy Churchill in Philadelphia.
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