Voters given options to obtain ID

Posted: April 08, 2013

This summer, the discussion of the legality of the voter-identification legislation will continue in Commonwealth Court. The key question is whether the state has made it possible for all legal voters to get an ID.

The answer to that question is: yes.

Free photo identification is available at any of the 71 Department of Transportation driver's license centers across the state for those who sign a form stating that they have no other identification acceptable for voting.

Two options for identification are then available.

The first is a Department of State voter-ID card. These photo IDs - available to registered voters - are valid for voting only, and are good for 10 years. To obtain the card, you need only give your name, date of birth, Social Security number, and address. That's all. It's the same information you need to register to vote - and PennDot will confirm your voter registration when you apply for the card. There is no paper documentation needed.

The second option is a PennDot nondriver photo ID.

To obtain this form of ID, you need a Social Security card; two proofs of residency, such as a utility or tax bill; and either a birth certificate with a raised seal, a valid U.S. passport, or a certificate of naturalization to prove citizenship. (If you were born in Pennsylvania but don't have a birth certificate with a raised seal, PennDot will confirm your birth record electronically.)

If you have an expired PennDot ID, just give your name and date of birth to the customer service representative, and your previous record will be confirmed and a new identification card issued.

On May 21, the day of Pennsylvania's primary election, voters again will be asked for identification, but they will not be required to have an ID to vote.

However, in anticipation of a decision from the court on voter ID, our goal is to ensure that any legal voter wanting an ID can obtain one.

That is precisely what Pennsylvania has done.


Shannon Royer is deputy secretary of state for elections and external affairs. For further information, e-mail ra-voteridquestions@pa.gov.

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