Voter ID Gets Easier for Native Pennsylvanians

Sep 18, 2012

For registered voters born in Pennsylvania, getting a photo ID card to cast a ballot in November is about to get a little easier.

Native Pennsylvanians who need to confirm their birth certificates using the state’s records will soon be able to do so with one visit to a PennDOT licensing center.

Zack Stalberg, president of the voter advocacy group the Committee of Seventy, said state agencies have eliminated the need for Pennsylvania-born voters to make second trips once their birth records are verified.

“It’s a pretty significant change, because it’s not fun to go to PennDOT once, let alone twice,” said Stalberg. “So the idea that people can get a same-day ID card should really help this problem significantly.”

As of now, Pennsylvania-born voters who want to confirm their birth records must make one trip to request the records check, and then another trip, 10 business days later, to get their ID once their birth certificates are verified. The faster processing time is expected to take a matter of hours and be implemented next week.  However, there are nine counties that do not have PennDOT licensing centers.

Meantime, Governor Corbett has denied a proposal by Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) to authorize all state legislative offices to produce the photo identification that will be required at polling sites. Fontana said the governor also rejected a plan to allow state offices to serve as intermediaries where individuals could go and get their photo taken and have their paperwork forwarded to PennDOT.  A month ago Fontana wrote a letter to the governor asking him to bring voter identification services into neighborhoods.

“I am disappointed that the Administration fails to recognize the importance in making the process of obtaining a voter ID easier and more convenient for those who lack the necessary photo identification,” Fontana said.  " Unfortunately, this [Voter ID]  law does not do that and the administration is not willing to make the necessary adjustments that would allow everyone wishing to vote that opportunity.”