Government
6:47 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

State Simplifies Obtaining Voter ID

When the state Legislature passed the Voter ID Law requiring people to show photo identification when they go to the polls, critics said it could make it more difficult for seniors to cast votes because the elderly often have expired drivers licenses.

The commonwealth's Department of State announced today that people with expired licenses will not have to provide a proof of residence when receiving a voter ID.

Department spokesman Ron Ruman said if the system still has a person's information, they only need to give their name at a PennDOT driver license center to receive a photo ID for voting. However, the system might not have the data if the license expired before 1990.

Ruman said while this process is aimed at helping senior citizens and others who no longer drive, they still have to go to a license center for their ID.

"There is not a process to do it online and have it mailed to you. You do need to show up there and get the ID if you're going to be voting in person," said Ruman. "If you're going to vote by absentee ballot, then you can send in that application and the ballot will be mailed to you."

Ruman said people applying for the photo ID will still need to fill out an application form and sign an affirmation that they no longer have another acceptable photo ID.

He said care facilities, including long-term care facilities, assisted living residences, and personal care homes, can create their own IDs for residents.

"All they need to have is the name of the institution, the photo of the resident, that person's name, and an expiration date," said Ruman. "Most colleges have IDs for their students and what they need to have is an expiration date on that ID for it to be valid."

Ruman said stickers with an expiration date can be added to make college IDs valid. He said if a voter comes to the polls in November without an ID, they will be asked to fill out a provisional ballot that will be counted if the voter provides identification within six days.

People looking to find out if their information is still in PennDOT's system can call 1-800-932-4600.