Ohio in 2006 went through what Pennsylvania is currently going through regarding new barriers to casting a ballot, so I sympathize. The government in Pennsylvania obviously doesn’t believe educating voters on the complex rules they just rammed through is a high priority, or they’d be doing a better job on voter education. You are on your own.
First, good job, Pennsylvania colleges! This is what happens when you’re dealing with people who really want to fix a (newly-created) problem, and simply allow people to vote. They fix it. They don’t add layer after layer of confusion and sworn affidavits and threats and six-day validation periods. They just fix it:
For college students attending one of the 14 schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, the opportunity to vote Nov. 6 comes down to a sticker.
For students who do not have a state driver’s license, the school ID is their access to a voting booth, and the majority of Pennsylvania student IDs do not meet the new requirement.
Out of 110 Pennsylvania colleges and universities surveyed in April by the consumer group PennPIRG, 15 printed IDs with expiration dates.
Updates for identification cards will vary by campus, although the majority are choosing to update by including a sticker with an expiration date, Marshall said.
I went to the PA Secretary of State site next. I don’t know why I’d be on the site at all, given that many in Pennsylvania are completely unaware that the law has changed dramatically, but let’s say I stumbled on it by accident perhaps while submitting my corporate filing:
All photo IDs must contain an expiration date that is current, unless noted otherwise. Acceptable IDs include:
• Photo IDs issued by the U.S. Federal Government or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:
• Pennsylvania driver’s license or non-driver’s license photo ID (IDs are valid for voting purposes 12 months past expiration date)
• Valid U.S. passport
• U.S. military ID – active duty and retired military (a military or veteran’s ID must designate an expiration date or designate that the expiration date is indefinite). Military dependents’ ID must contain an expiration date
• Employee photo ID issued by Federal, PA, County or Municipal government
• Photo ID cards from an accredited Pennsylvania public or private institution of higher learning
• Photo ID cards issued by a Pennsylvania care facility, including long-term care facilities, assisted living residences or personal care homes
This is a very restrictive law, much more restrictive than the Ohio law that went in in 2006. If a Pennsylvania voter happened to stumble on these new rules, and realized they did not have a photo ID, because they don’t drive, say, because they are an urban-American with access to public transportation they would then go to the PennDOT site:
If a voter does not POSSESS PROOF OF IDENTIFICATION FOR VOTING PURPOSES as defined at section 102(z.5)(2) of the Pennsylvania Election Code (25 P.S. § 2602(z.5)(2)) and requires proof of identification for voting purposes, the following applies:
You must declare under oath or affirmation by completing the Oath/ Affirmation Voter ID form that you do not possess any of the following forms of identification: In particular,..
It goes on from there, and is too long to repeat here. Let’s say you’ve completed your Oath/Affirmation Voter ID Form, which means you don’t have ID, and now you’re ready to get the ID card:
To obtain a Pennsylvania Photo Identification card, an individual needs to visit a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Driver License Center with a completed Application for an Initial Photo Identification Card; form DL-54A, and the following:
Social Security Card
One of the following:
• Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
• Certificate of Naturalization
• Valid U.S. Passport
• *Birth Certificate with a raised seal
• Two proofs of **residency such as lease agreements, current utility bills, mortgage documents, W-2 form, tax records
*If they do not have a birth certificate with a raised seal and are a Pennsylvania native; and do not have one of the acceptable, alternative forms of photo identification to vote; and will provide a signed oath/affirmation form, when visiting the PennDOT driver license center, they must:
• Tell the PennDOT customer service representative they are a Pennsylvania native who needs a photo ID for voting purposes, and do not have a certified copy of their birth certificate;
• Sign an oath/affirmation that they do not have an acceptable form of ID for voting purposes and the photo ID is needed for voting purposes;
• Show a Social Security card and two proofs of residence, such as a deed, lease, tax bill, or utility bill;
• Fill out a DL-54A form requesting a non-driver photo ID and;
• Complete the HD01564F (Request for Certification of Birth Record for Voter ID Purposes Only) form, which collects information such as birth name, mother and father’s name and place of birth. This Department of Health form is available at all Driver Licensing Centers.
PennDOT will then forward the completed form to the Department of Health, which maintains birth records. After verifying the birth record is on file, the Department of Health will securely transmit this information to PennDOT. PennDOT will then notify them by letter that their birth record has been confirmed. They may then return to any driver license center, with the above noted documentation, to receive your free photo ID for voting purposes. This verification process will take about ten days and does not require the payment of a fee.
Step Two and Step Three follow. I think I might just decide to get a driver’s license at this point. What the hell. I’m 3/4 of the way there jumping through all the hoops to get the ID card.
Seriously, though, this law is a huge lift for democracy enthusiasts in Pennsylvania. The voter ID law in Ohio is much less restrictive and it was an enormous amount of work educating people on that in 2006. If any of you can help tell PA voters with your Facebooks and your Twitters, I think that would be a great thing to do. People have to know the law has changed before they can even try to comply with it.