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A new photo identification card, strictly for voting purposes in Pennsylvania, will be available starting this week. It was created in response to the state’s voter ID law, which requires voters to show an acceptable form of photo identification before casting their ballots.
Department of State Spokesman Ron Ruman said the new ID can be obtained without producing a birth certificate or a Social Security card, both of which are required for a PennDOT driver's or non-driver's license.
“Typically what you need for a PennDOT ID is your birth certificate, a Social Security card and two proofs of residence. So this would help folks that can’t help folks get all that documentation,” Ruman said.
The license is the most common form of photo ID acceptable at the polls, and Ruman said the special voting ID card was developed to accommodate those who lacked key documents.
“As we implemented this law we did discover that there was a small group of folks who really couldn’t get the documents. The biggest problem was the birth certificate for people who were born in other states or other countries,” Ruman said.
The new ID requires Pennsylvanians to produce their Social Security number and two proofs of residence. As the card is just for voting purposes, only registered voters will be able to obtain one at PennDOT licensing centers, which are located in all but nine counties.
Ruman acknowledged the centers may be out of the way for rural residents and the elderly, but he noted that the PennDOT licenses are good for five years, and the voting IDs are valid for 10 years.
“Penn DOT centers are not necessarily around the corner, but again, I think if, hopefully if folks are able to get to vote twice a year, to get to the polls and get someone to do that, someone would do that for them once, you know, every so many years,” Ruman said.
The deadline to register to vote before the election is October 9th, but voters may obtain a voting ID card as late as the day of the November General Election and still be eligible to vote.