Voter ID law has Masloff miffed

Sophie Masloff says she's anxiously awaiting Commonwealth Court's decision on the state's voter ID law.

"I am in terrible distress," the former mayor said Friday. "I've never had an issue that has me so upset as this thing."

At this point, the former mayor says she's among those without one of the forms of identification specified in the controversial law, and she's concerned about breaking her unbroken voting streak that stretches back to the Great Depression, when she was 18 -- yes, 18. But we'll come back to that.

"I don't have one," she said. "When I sold my car I tore up my driver's license, and my passport is expired."

Mrs. Masloff said she hopes to get to a PennDOT office to obtain one of the approved IDs but is worried about some of the horror stories of long lines and confusion she has heard from her neighbors.

A Commonwealth Court judge is to rule by Tuesday on the case, which was sent back to the lower court by the state Supreme Court. Judge Robert Simpson indicated from the bench earlier this week that he was considering crafting some sort of temporary injunction in the case, which would, presumably, modify how and when the law might be implemented.

Echoing some of the arguments presented to the court, the Squirrel Hill resident, who was mayor from 1988 to 1994, said she believed that many of her neighbors could be similarly hampered by the existing language of the new law.

Before she became mayor, Mrs. Masloff was a longtime foot soldier in Democratic politics. This year was the first since 1964 that she didn't attend the Democratic National Convention, and her voting streak extends far longer, to the mid-1930s. She said she can't recall the candidates on the first ballot she cast but does remember she was 18 at the time.

Wait a minute, Sophie! Wasn't the voting age 21 back then?

"I lived in the Third Ward in the Hill [District], and I was barely 18 at the time, but I voted," she recalled. "You had to be 21 ... [but] they didn't pay much attention to the rules. I was a committee woman when I was 18 years old; I wasn't old enough to vote but I voted anyway."

"I lied about my age, and I've lied about it ever since," she added, while noting that her willful miscalculation now runs in the opposite direction.

"I lie about it the other way now," she said, before confessing to being 94.

neigh_city - electionspa

Politics Editor James O'Toole: First Published September 29, 2012 4:00 AM


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