The Secretary of the Commonwealth announced Friday that Pennsylvania will be issuing a new ID card that can be used as voter identification. The card is aimed that those who many not be able to get a state-issued driver’s license or non-driver ID.
In order to get a voter identification card, a state resident must only provide two proofs of residency, such as a utility bill or lease, and their birth date and social security number.
“Once they have that information this will be done at a driver’s license center with a PennDOT official. Once the official obtains that information they will check with the Department of State right then and there while the voter is there and if everything checks out the card will be produced right there and there and the voter will walk out with it the same day,” said department Spokesman Nick Winkler.
There will be no cost to get the ID, just as there will no cost for those who need a non-driver’s license ID for voting purposes. Winkler this will be a secure and official “safety net card” but it will have some limitations.
“Most people, we believe, are able to get a PennDOT issued non-driver’s license photo ID, if they fail to meet those requirements then they’ll be offered the new Department of State Voter ID. The difference is the Department of State card can only be used for voting purposes, whereas a non-driver’s license photo ID can be used for anything that may require an ID,” he said.
There are some options for those who are homeless or cannot provide proof of residences for certain reasons but want to vote. Other IDs are acceptable for voting include active and non-active military IDs, a valid U.S. passport, photo IDs issued by accredited Pennsylvania public or private colleges and seminaries, and photo IDs issued by Pennsylvania care facilities such as long-term care facilities and assisted-living residences. To be used, those IDs must have an expiration date.
The new Pennsylvania voter ID law requires anyone voting to have proper photo identification. Opponents of the law have said that will make it harder for some to vote, such as the very poor, homeless, and others. Winkler said the secretary of the Commonwealth wants to make sure that all those who are eligible can exercise their right to vote in November.
“This is just another vehicle to make sure that all voters, that there’s no obstacles left for them, that whoever is a registered voter and legally entitled to vote will not be denied the right to do so,” he said.
The new voter ID cards will start being issued sometime in late August, though a specific date is not yet available. They will be issued up to the November 6 presidential election and will be valid for 10 years.