Voters next month will again be asked — but not required — to show photo ID at the polls. This is consistent with Commonwealth Court’s August injunction order, which in most respects allowed a continuation of the voter ID law’s transition period, while the court decides whether the law should be fully implemented.
The injunction order leaves intact the provision of the law that requires voter education. Thus, voters are seeing and hearing commercials reminding them they will be asked, but not required, to show photo ID at the polls in November.
These commercials tell voters to call 877-VOTESPA or visit www.votespa.com if they need more information, and inform voters they can get a free ID for voting purposes at any PennDOT driver license center — even if they were unable to get an ID in the past. This is so because, since September 2012, any registered voter has been able to get a free Department of State voter ID with no more information than is required to register to vote; name, address, date of birth and Social Security number (if the voter has one). No documentation is needed.
Poll workers are prohibited from telling voters that they will need an ID for a future election, as that won’t be known until a final court decision is made.
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I believe this law will be upheld by the courts, and provide a common-sense way to verify the identity of each voter at the polls. In the meantime, I encourage any voter who needs one to get a free photo ID.
The writer is the secretary of the commonwealth.