Clergy Leaders Call on Commonwealth Court to Issue Injunction of Act 18
Dwayne Royster, 215-237-4503
POWER: An Interfaith Movement
September 18, 2012 - Philadelphia - Leaders from POWER: An Interfaith Movement – an organization comprised of 37 congregations from across Philadelphia, and representing its racial, economic and religious diversity – gathered today in response to the State Supreme Court’s decision to send Act 18 (Voter ID law) back to the Commonwealth Court with instructions to enjoin it.
“While we are relieved to know that the highest court in the state sees many of the same problems that our 25,000 members see in this law, we will not be happy with anything short of its repeal. The question is not about the ability of the state to implement the law," said Rev. Mark Tyler, pastor of Mother Bethel AME Church in Center City and a POWER leader, "the issue is that this law is unconstitutional to begin with."
POWER, which last Thursday kicked off its Let My People Vote Campaign is concerned that many of its members – senior citizens, college students, low-income persons without driver’s licenses and veterans – are among the estimated 800,000 Pennsylvanians who would do not have the kinds of photo identifications that Act 18 would require as a prerequisite to voting. “We agree with Justice McCaffery that Act 18 is ‘purely political’ and believe it was not designed to eliminate voter fraud but to frustrate the already-powerless,” said Bishop Kermit Newkirk, pastor of Harold O. Davis Baptist Church and POWER leader. “It is my philosophy that Act 18 was orchestrated and that it is evil,” the Bishop added.
Bishop Dwayne Royster, POWER’s Executive Director, expressed cautious optimism that the Commonwealth Court will heed the
Supreme Court’s warnings and enjoin the law by October 2nd, the deadline for filing its new opinion. “But we are not taking anything for granted. We have hired three community organizers who are working with dozens of congregations who are members and allies of POWER to ensure that their people are ready to vote in November,” commented Bishop Royster after hearing about the Court decision this afternoon.
POWER will be conducting its Fall Leadership Assembly next week where leaders from across the organization will gather to, among other things, ramp up its Let My People Vote Campaign in the remaining 7 weeks until the election.
POWER: An Interfaith Movement is a non-partisan, inter-faith organization affiliated with the PICO National Network. POWER helps build the capacity of its low- and moderate- income members to be a prophetic voice for policy change in Philadelphia. POWER is currently working on campaigns to ensure “first source hiring” and living wage standards on all publicly-subsidized projects, inclusion and just treatment of immigrants and excellence and equity in our public schools. See www.powerphiladelphia.org for more information.