Corbett Defends Voter ID Efforts While State Awaits Court Ruling on Injunction

Aug 14, 2012

Gov. Corbett is chiding the parties suing the state, implying they’re wasting time trying to block the law he said is being implemented to ensure it doesn’t negatively affect registered voters. “What we heard in the testimony in the courtroom were the people saying, ‘well we can’t – they can’t get their photo ID,’ and they were there in the courtroom, rather than, ‘We can help you get a photo ID,’” said Corbett on the Radio Pennsylvania show, “Ask the Governor.”

The Commonwealth Secretary took a similar tone with protesters of the voter ID law who gathered at the Capitol the day before the law’s hearing began in Commonwealth Court.  Sec. Carol Aichele suggested opponents of the law should be focusing their energy on helping people get photo ID.  Lawyers challenging the law argued it impinges on the right to vote, especially for the poor, the elderly, and minority voters.  Both sides have vowed to appeal the Commonwealth Court ruling to the state Supreme Court.

Corbett said employees at the PennDOT licensing centers are working to uniformly implement the law – a response to a survey done by volunteers finding that PennDOT workers were sometimes unhelpful or inconsistent in their dealings with photo ID requests.  Corbett acknowledged there have been bumps in the road.  “[W]hen we hear a complaint, we’re trying to address that complaint,” he told Radio Pennsylvania.  “And there are more forms of photo ID than just the ID issued by PennDOT.”

All of the state system schools have committed to altering their student IDs to be acceptable at the polls, and many state-supported and private colleges have said they’ll do the same.  Photo IDs from nursing homes, military IDs, and employee IDs issued by federal, state, or local government are also valid, provided they meet the law’s specifications. 

Voters who attempt to cast ballots in November without proper identification will be able to vote by provisional ballot, which will be counted if they return with acceptable ID within six days of Election Day.  “The thing is you have from now until six days after the election to get that photo ID,” said Corbett.