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By Steven M. Kamp

I won’t waste your time with a screed about the politics behind the onerous voter ID laws in effect this year in Pennsylvania and some other states. Instead, don’t get mad, get even by getting the ID these laws require. This diary is about the Pennsylvania voter ID law, but it may be useful in Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

If you are living in Pennsylvania, first check to make sure you are registered. The deadline is October 9. You will also need photo ID to vote absentee; the “civilian (vs. military and other overseas) absentee” deadline is October 30 for the application, and November 2 for the receipt of the voted ballot.

Pennsylvania Driver’s License or Photo ID

After checking and (if needed) updating your registration, check and see if you have EITHER of the following: a Pennsylvania driver’s license, or a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania non-drivers license photo ID. If you do, check to make sure the expiration date is no later than 12 months after Election Day: November 6, 2012, or no later than November 6, 2013. If you have either, you’re fine – just bring this photo ID to the polls on Election Day, or include a copy when you mail your application for an absentee ballot.

Alternative Forms of Photo ID

If you do not have either, you need to see if you have one of the alternative forms of photo ID that has an expiration date valid after November 6, 2012, or immediately head to the nearest Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Driver’s License Center to get either a Driver’s License or a voting photo ID.  

You should be able to avoid this trip IF you have a photo ID with an expiration date stated on the photo ID as “indefinite”, or a photo ID with an expiration date after November 6, 2012, from any one the following:

•    A valid United States passport

•    A Commonwealth state, county or local agency employee photo ID

•    United States Military, retired military, or dependent military photo ID

•    United States Government photo ID

•    Photo ID from an accredited Pennsylvania institution of higher learning, including                  two year colleges

•    Photo ID issued by a Pennsylvania personal care facility, including assisted living,                  nursing homes, and long-term care facilities.

What Happens if You Do Not Have Any Photo ID?

If you do not have any of these, you need to declare under oath that you do not have any of the above forms of identification, and you must present to the PennDOT Driver’s License Center a birth certificate with a raised seal, a Social Security card, and two forms of proof of residence (utility bill, deed, lease, or tax bill).  

Native Pennsylvanians

If you can declare under oath that you are a native Pennsylvanian, you do not need a birth certificate with a raised seal. But you need to fill out forms DL-54A and HD01564F, which the Pennsylvania DOT will forward to the Pennsylvania Department of Health to verify that you were born in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania DOT website says that “PennDOT will then notify [the voter] 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.”

Born Outside Pennsylvania – Need Birth Certificate With Raised Seal  

If you were not born in Pennsylvania, you need to contact the county clerk or other official in the jurisdiction where you were born, to obtain a raised-seal copy of your birth certificate. Once you receive this, take it to the nearest PennDOT Driver’s License Center along with a Social Security Card and two proof-of-residence documents (utility bill, tax bill, lease, deed), and ask for a Pennsylvania voting photo ID.

Provisional Ballot, But Must Present Photo ID by November 12

If you do not have identification by Election Day, you can vote a provisional ballot, but the ballot is counted only if you provide acceptable photo ID to the county elections office within six calendar days after November 6 (note that November 12 is the Monday after Veterans Day).

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Website

More information can be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation website,

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Comment Preferences

  •  You can't do both; get mad and get ID? nt (0+ / 0-)

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 11:10:14 AM PDT

  •  Are YOU going to pay for it? (0+ / 0-)
    •  Freedom isn't always free (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlackSheep1, ManhattanMan

      Yes, we can legitimately claim the cost of an ID is a poll tax.  Yes, it is a crime to pay to vote, and yes there should be lawsuits over this and yes we should win them.


      If the laws stand, and if the Republicans win in court and if voters are turned away from the polls in November, then every single person who could get ID and who could afford to get ID and didn't, will have only themselves to blame.

      Freedom and liberty aren't free.  Sometimes the cost is blood, sometimes the cost is time and money.  We can fight, or we can surrender.

      You know which one the GOP is hoping for.  

      •  Freedom and liberty surely aren't free (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but the costs should be borne equitably by society

        So, if ID is required to vote, the said ID should be provided at no fee to the voter; further society should provide transportation (etc) needed to obtain the ID.

        Until that is the case, diaries such as this one ring awfully hollow.

        •  Without ID, votes in Nov may be hollow! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          How things should be, and how they actually are, are two completely different things.  I agree with you, voting should be free.  Sorry though, the costs are never born equally by society.  The poor get sent off to die in wars while the rich live in luxury.
          The cost of getting an ID isn't our lives, and it is not a burden that can't be overcome.

          If the Republicans win in court and ID is required, then two choices are available to those who can afford to get ID.

          1)  Be ideologically pure, refuse to pay, get disenfranchised, and let the GOP win.  They win now and forever.

          2)  People who can pay the damn poll tax do so, vote, send the GOP packing, and elect people who will repeal the poll taxes.

          Do not advise people to be complacent.  That way lies defeat.

        •  actually RG, diaries like this help (0+ / 0-)

          folks who don't know how to get, or which kind of ID they need, figure out what to do to get around the voter-suppression laws the GOP loves so.

          David Dewhurst is the less crazy GOP candidate here in Texas for the US Senate. His latest add is a blood-boiler, IMO:

          The lies the GOP so loves make my head ache.

          LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

          by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 01:28:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I suppose the this mostly affects oldsters (0+ / 0-)

            who (1) no longer drive and (2) don't have much $$s.

            An equally pressing demographic in need of IDs are youngsters who also don't have many $$s but yet have spurred a robust industry to provide fake IDs that enable them to drink alcohol before they're 21.

            In hopes that our seniors will be equally receptive to low cost voting ID solutions, combined with the huge "plus 55" housing development I've noticed is now going up about 1.2 miles away from where I live, I'm mightily tempted to go into the fake ID business myself.

            But maybe I shouldn't have said that on the internets.

    •  Glad you asked. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If some well-monied and well-ethiced people would start some kind of "Want to vote? Can't afford an ID? Talk to us and we'll pay for it for you" group, it would bring to light any stories of people that can't get ID no matter WHAT they do... (like, you have to have a birth cert. to get your ID but you can't get your birth cert. WITHOUT an ID)

      "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the State ..."- Vermont Constitution Chapter 1, Article 16

      by kestrel9000 on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 11:48:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And some people... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kestrel9000, BlackSheep1

        can't get a birth certificate at all because one doesn't exist.

        My father can't get one because the court house where it was stored burned down in the 50s and the hospital he was born at didn't keep a copy.

        Irony is, my mother (an immigrant) would have an easier time proving her eligibility to vote than he would.

        Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them - Thomas Jefferson 30 July, 1816

        by Roiling Snake Ball on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 12:55:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Fundraisers could be set up to pay for them (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kestrel9000, Mother Shipper

    for those that can't afford to pay for them themselves.  

    If the Capitol Building got sold to Bain, would it be the Bain Capital Building?

    by Tom Stokland on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 11:21:55 AM PDT

  •  No (3+ / 0-)

    This is an issue which can not be compromised on.

    Twenty-fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution

    The Twenty-fourth Amendment (Amendment XXIV) prohibits both Congress and the states from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of tax. The amendment was proposed by Congress to the states on August 27, 1962, and was ratified by the states on January 23, 1964.
    Eric Holder has this 100% correct. Voter ID laws are a poll tax, nothing more, nothing less and one which is directly targeted at disenfranching the poor, elderly and minorities.

    Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them - Thomas Jefferson 30 July, 1816

    by Roiling Snake Ball on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 11:56:08 AM PDT

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