Voters with documents before 1990 should call DMV to confirm
State officials have released new guidelines for anyone who had a driver’s license or other state identification issued by PennDOT, even if it’s now expired, and wants a photo ID to vote.
“If you had a Pennsylvania driver’s license, or a non-driver license photo ID, in most cases you will not be required to bring a birth certificate, or any other proof of identification or residence, to request a non-driver photo ID for voting purposes,” said Commonwealth Secretary Carol Aichele, in a statement released Wednesday evening.
Anyone who had a driver’s license or a state ID issued by PennDOT as far back as 1990 can simply go to a licensing center and request an identification card.
“You won’t even need your expired license if you no longer have it,” Aichele said. “You’ll only need to give your name at a PennDOT driver license center, and once you are verified as being in the system, PennDOT will provide you with a non-driver license photo ID, which you can use to vote.”
Individuals who had a license or other ID before 1990 should call 1-800-932-4600 to see if they are in the department of transportation’s computer system.
Individuals applying for the non-driver license photo ID will still need to fill out the application form, Aichele said. They will also have to sign an affirmation they have no other acceptable form of photo ID for voting purposes to receive the non-driver license photo ID free of charge.
Aichele said the new guidelines would streamline the process of getting an acceptable photo identification card especially for senior citizens.
Voters will be required to show a state-approved photo identification to vote in the Nov. 6 general election. Poll workers will begin asking voters for a photo ID on Tuesday, though voters can vote without one.
In November, voters will be required to present a state-approved form of identification or else be forced to vote on a paper ballot and then submit an approved ID by Nov. 12.
The law, passed just last month, has sparked enormous controversy across the state. Critics argue that the law ill disenfranchise older, younger, poorer and minority voters.
Aichele this week said: “No one legally entitled to vote will be denied that right.”
A coalition of more than 70 voting advocacy groups has joined forces across the state in an effort to make sure anyone who needs identification has it. According to state estimates, approximately 1 million Pennsylvanians lack the necessary ID.
One local organizer, who participated in the voter registration drives of the Civil Rights Era, predicted that the law, which many see as an attempt to suppress the vote had galvanized voters and would ultimately have the opposite effect.
“I suspect that by the time our efforts are done, people will be so aware of what’s going on with voter ID that it will probably boost the number of people who come to the polls in November,” said Joseph Certaine, co-convener of the Pennsylvania Voter ID Coalition.
For a complete list of state-approved forms of identification for voting purposes check out the state Department of State’s website at: www.VotesPA.com, or call 1-877-868-3772.