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                                                   by Steven M. Kamp

Instructions to Pollworkers Issued by Pennsylvania Department of State

Pennsylvania’s voter ID law may or may not survive after the next court decision by October 2 (this time from the Commonwealth Court).  At best, its implementation is fatally flawed. If it does, be aware of the instructions to pollworkers given in writing by the Pennsylvania Secretary of State and appearing in PDF format on the VotesPA website under “The New Voter ID Law.”

Indigency Exception

First, the only exception to the photo ID requirement is for “indigent voters,” described as a voter who cannot pay for an acceptable birth certificate or other document to get a photo ID. It appears that the voter can vote simply by declaring “indigency” to the pollworkers; the voter is then given a provisional ballot, which is counted only if the voter provides an affirmation (“by mail, electronically, or in person”) of indigency and that such “voter is the same person who cast the provisional ballot” to the county board of elections within six days after November 6, 2012. Actually, this year it will be November 13 since the 12th is Veterans Day.

No Indigency, No Photo ID = Provisional Ballot + Affirmation

If the voter does not declare “indigency” and lacks a satisfactory photo ID, the voter is given a provisional ballot that is counted only if the voter provides the county board of elections (again, by November 13) with an acceptable photo ID plus an affirmation that the person providing the ID is the same person who voted on November 6.

New Development: Care Facilities or Educational Institutions May Issue Photo ID

As stated on page one of the pollworker instructions, an acceptable form of ID includes unexpired photo ID cards issued by a (licensed) Pennsylvania care facility or accredited Pennsylvania college or university. According to a Philadelphia Inquirer story published September 22, 2012, the Department of State acknowledges that the law allows county governments to accept photo IDs issued by such care or educational institution to any resident located in its county, even if the ID recipient is not a patient or student at the institution. Counties are open to this procedure because of delays encountered at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (“PennDOT”), where voter IDs are issued.

Acceptable Forms and Dates of Photo ID

Other forms of acceptable ID, expressly recognized in the pollworker instructions:

November 6 is Within 12 Months Past Expiration Date

Pennsylvania driver’s license or non-driver’s license photo ID

Not Expired on November 6, 2012

Pennsylvania Department of State ID for Voting Purposes

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Photo ID

Federal Government Photo ID

Valid United States Passport

Military dependents military ID

Employee photo ID issued by Federal, Pennsylvania, County or Municipal government

Photo ID card from accredited public or private Pennsylvania college or university (may contain a school year or semester)

Photo ID card issued by Pennsylvania care facility, including long-term care, assisted-living or personal care homes

Not Expired on November 6, 2012 (or Expiration Date Indefinite if issued by U.S. Department of Defense)

Active duty and retired military

Exceptions to the Rule That All IDs Must Contain the Voter’s Photo

A valid “without-photo” driver’s license issued by PennDOT

A valid “without-photo” ID card issued by PennDOT

Name on Photo ID Must “Substantially Conform” to the Poll Book Name

Examples from the Pollworker Instructions, page two:

Joseph Earl Voter – Joseph E. Voter, Joe Earl Voter, Joseph Voter, Joe E. Voter, J. Earl Voter, J. Voter, J.E. Voter, Earl Voter

Margaret Smith Voter – Margaret Smith, if she recently changed her name by reason of marriage and presents a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license or Pennsylvania ID card PLUS a PennDOT update card. Also: Maggy S. Voter, M. S. Voter, Maggy Voter, M. Smith Voter, Peg S. Voter, M. Voter

(Author’s question: what about Marge Voter or Marjorie Voter?)  

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