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Try #2: So today I gathered up many proofs of ID and residency, and headed for the DMV to again try to transfer my out of state license and thereby ensure I have the required voting ID. This morning, I re-checked the website to ensure I had the location and the times open exactly right, for the Penn Hills DMV.

The bus ride to the DMV site took an hour. I went to Penn Hills DMV (11620 Keleket Drive, Pittsburgh, PA), the closest one that had Saturday hours, as I had previously spent a whole workday morning on try #1 to get voter ID. (Which didn't work out, as I previously diaried.) Got to the front door, and there was a sign saying "Closed Sept. 1 & 3  LABOR DAY".

I checked, and the next return bus was in almost an hour. So, I wasted a total of 3 hours today, on yet another failed trip to the DMV for a voter ID.

If the website had simply and obviously said that DMV was closed (on whichever days of the year it is closed on), I would not have wasted my time. I took a photo of the sign on the door, and in the few minutes it took me to do that, two different groups of people came up to the door, and tried the locked door. By the way, the DMV location is in a high-percentage Black neighborhood, and both those groups of people were Black. (I am not, but it is significant that in the 3 minutes I was there, 2 out of 3 people who couldn't get ID were Black.)

There are many barriers to getting a State ID, and the barriers are unequally distributed by race and wealth. I am determined to get my ID, and so I will make a third trip to the DMV to do it (and a fourth, and a fifth if necessary). But I'm sharing my stories about the barriers I experience with my attempts, so people will understand how the GOP voter suppression works. Part of the suppression is by making it so time-consuming and frustrating that people give up and don't return to try again, and don't get their voter ID. It turns out I missed one of the many instructions, starting from here for people moving into state and needing to change their license. I had thought I read all of them, but it turns out I should have clicked on a separate small link within that page that separately listed all the days DMV offices close. (which they didn't bother to put on the Penn Hills DMV hours/days open page). So, my bad for not having a PhD in DMV-rule-traversing. But obviously, since 2 other groups of people tried the same thing just within the 3 minutes I was at the DMV office front door, a lot of other people missed some of the crucial details as well. I don't blame us, I blame the inconvenient DMV hours and days, and I blame the GOP for trying to suppress the vote by taking advantage of demographic differences and Pennsylvania's bad DMV bureaucracies. It should not be so hard to get ID for voting!!!  

By the way, here's a link (to a PDF) for the required ID and residency proofs, to transfer a license from out of state: required ID and residency proofs

UPDATE: I just found out that for people who never had a state ID in PA, before, they're issuing only temporary valid-only-2-weeks IDs that need to be replaced!It turns out the first ID they'll give me (and everyone else new to having PA state ID) will only be valid for 15 days! However, voter ID requirements require that the ID be currently valid. So... even once I get the driver's license, the version I get at first won't be useable for voting (unless within 2 weeks), and then who knows what bureaucracy will be required - do I have to take a whole another morning off of a work day? I sure hope not! That would mean everyone who gets through all the previous hurdles has yet another hurdle to overcome... and some people will lose their vote.

Originally posted to foldingBicycle on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Pennsylvania.

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