Voter ID Issues: Voting In Person at the Polls

Voter ID Issues for All Voters: Voting In Person at the Polls

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A.  What photo IDs are acceptable on November 6 and for future elections? 

Acceptable PHOTO IDs include:

1.    A PA driver's license: Must be currently valid or expired less than 12 months on 11/6/12. An out-of-state driver’s license will not be accepted at the polls.

2.    An ID issued by PennDOT: Must be currently valid or expired less than 12 months on 11/6/12.    

3.    A U.S. passport: Must have an expiration date. Expiration date must be on or after 11/6/12.    

4.    An active duty or retired U.S. military ID, including an ID for members of the PA National Guard: The card may indicate that the expiration date is “indefinite.” A Veterans Administration or Veterans Identification Card without an expiration date will not be accepted at the polls.

5.    A military dependent’s ID: Must have an expiration date. Expiration date must be on or after 11/6/12.

6.    An employee ID issued by federal, PA, PA county or PA municipal government. (A School District employee ID is not acceptable.) Must have an expiration date. Expiration date must be on or after 11/6/12. 

7.    An ID issued by an accredited PA university, college, seminary, community college or two-year college to students, faculty, employees and alumni. Must have an expiration date. Expiration date must be on or after 11/6/12.  

8.    An ID issued by a PA care facility (such as a long-term care nursing facility, assisted living residence or a personal care home). Must have an expiration date. Expiration date must be on or after 11/6/12. Medicare and Medicaid cards will not be accepted.


B.  What are acceptable IDs for voters with a religious objection to being photographed? 

Voters can still vote by presenting a currently valid non-photo driver’s license or other non-photo ID issued by PennDOT. These IDs must be currently valid or expired less than 12 months on 11/6/12.   

C.  Does the address on a photo ID need to match the address where you are registered to vote?

No. The voter ID law does not require an address on your photo ID to match where you are registered to vote.

D. How can voters obtain a photo ID if they don’t have one?

All voters without an acceptable form of photo ID (see Question A. above) must go to a PennDOT Driver’s License Center to obtain one. Voters can go to any PennDOT Driver’s License Center in Pennsylvania. The Driver’s License Center does not need to be in your home county. Getting a photo ID for voting is free of charge.  

E. What types of photo IDs can I get in order to vote?

There are two types of photo IDs available to voters without one of the photo IDs described earlier (see Question A): the Department of State (DOS) ID and the PennDOT ID.

There are differences between the two IDs. But they do have one basic but important requirement in common: A voter must first be registered to vote in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s voter registration deadline is October 9, 2012. PennDOT can check voters’ registration while they wait for their photo ID at the Driver’s License Center. But voters can help themselves by making sure they are registered to vote in Pennsylvania before going to a PennDOT Driver’s License Center by calling 1-877-868-3772 or by logging onto: https://www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us/Pages/voterregistrationstatus.aspx.

F. What is the DOS ID? 

The free DOS ID was made available on August 27, 2012 after it became clear that many voters were having difficulty getting the documents they needed to get a photo ID (if they didn’t have one of the photo IDs discussed in Question A. on page 4). That’s why the state calls it an “ID of last resort.”

With Election Day just around the corner, voters need to know about the DOS ID since it is the easiest and quickest ID to get for voters who just want an ID they can use to vote.

Voters should know that the DOS ID: 

•    Can only be used to vote. It cannot be used to enter buildings, cash checks, get through the security line at airports or for any other purpose.
•    Is valid for ten years.

As of September 25, every registered Pennsylvania voter is eligible for a DOS ID. Voters must still go to a PennDOT Driver’s License Center to get the DOS ID and fill out two forms:

1.    A Request for Initial Issuance of Free Department of State ID for Voting Purposes: This form, which asks for the voter’s name, date of birth, social security number, address, telephone number and e-mail address (and any change in the voter’s name or address within in last 12 months, is available here and can also be downloaded by going to: http://www.votespa.com/portal/server.pt?open=514&objID=1174192&parentname=ObjMgr&parentid=1&mode=2 and going to “Application for Department of State Voter ID Card.

2.    An Oath/Affirmation that (1) the voter is registered to vote in PA, (2) the voter does not have any photo ID that will be acceptable at the polls (see Question A. on page 4 above), and (3) the voter requires proof of identification for voting purposes. Voters may be subject to penalties for giving false information, including a fine of at least $1,000, imprisonment for not more than two years, or both. The Oath/Affirmation is available here and can also be downloaded at: (http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/pdotforms/voterid/VoterAffirmationNoProofofID.pdf). Note: Signing this oath/affirmation is required in order to get a free photo ID for voting.

As of September 25, voters do not have to present any proofs of residency to get the DOS ID.

G. Will voters get their DOS IDs while they are at PennDOT?

Yes, the only voters who will not get their DOS IDs while they are at PennDOT are those whose voter registration or information cannot be confirmed on the spot. The Department of State will mail the DOS ID to the voter once the registration or information is confirmed.

H. How much does a DOS ID cost? 

We mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth saying again: the DOS ID is free of charge as long as the voter signs the oath/affirmation described in Question F. above.  

However, it is important for voters to communicate that they need the DOS ID for voting when they arrive at a PennDOT Driver’s License Center. Otherwise, the voter could be charged $13.50 – which is what it costs to get a non-driver’s photo ID that many individuals get just to have a form of identification (unrelated to voting).

I. What should voters do if they can’t get to a PennDOT Driver’s License Center?  much does a DOS ID cost? 

Voters who need to be transported to a PennDOT Driver’s License Center to get a DOS ID should contact Joe Certaine at the PA Voter ID Coalition’s Operations Center at 215-848-1283.

J. What is the second type of photo ID (mentioned in Question E. on page 5)?

It’s a PennDOT ID that is also issued at a PennDOT Driver’s License Center and can be used both for voting and for non-voting (e.g., cashing a check, going into a building, boarding an airplane).  For this reason, some voters may prefer to get a PennDOT ID instead of a DOS ID. If the voter ID law is still in place after November 6, voters who have gotten a DOS ID can decide if they want to get a PennDOT ID.

Since November 6 is just around the corner, however, this manual only contains information on how to get the DOS ID. For complete information on how to get the PennDOT ID, please go to www.seventy.org/voterID or call the hotline at 1-866-687-8683.

K. Where can voters find a PennDOT Driver’s License Center?

It’s important to remember that not all PennDOT offices are equipped to give out photo IDs for voting – only PennDOT Driver’s License Centers. There are 71 PennDOT Driver’s License Centers in the state. Nine counties do not have a Driver’s License Center and, in 20 counties, the Driver’s License Center is open three days a week or less.

Remember that voters can go to any PennDOT Driver’s License Center, not just a Center in the voter’s home county. PennDOT does not publish the telephone numbers of individual Driver’s License Centers. To find the location of Driver’s License Centers, service information and hours of operation, go to:  https://www.dot33.state.pa.us/locator/locator.jsp#top?2012080720065203=2012080720065203 or call:

1.    In-State:                                                                       1-800-932-4600
2.    Out-of-State (if calling from a non-PA area code):      1-717-412-5300
3.    Hearing Impaired (In-State):                                         1-800-228-0676 (TDD)
4.    Hearing Impaired (Out-of-State):                                  1-717-412-5380 (TDD)

IMPORTANT UPDATES:

•    Philadelphia five Driver’s License Centers will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Thursday from September 27 through November 8. These Centers are located at:
    •     801 Arch Street
    •     1530 South Columbus Boulevard
    •     2320 Island Avenue
    •     919-B Levick Street
    •     7121 Ogontz Avenue  

•    Forty-eight PennDOT Driver’s License Centers that are normally closed on Mondays will be open on Monday, November 5, 2012, the day before the election. To find out which Centers will be open, go to www.dmv.state.pa.us or call 1-800-932-4600.

L.  What happens if a voter can’t afford to get a photo ID for some reason?

Voters who come to the polls in November without a photo ID because of financial reasons (for instance, the voter can’t get to a PennDOT Driver’s License Center) will be allowed to vote by provisional (paper) ballot. There will be a form at the polling place for the voter to fill out that affirms that he/she is voting by provisional ballot because he/she could not afford to get a photo ID. The voter can sign the affirmation and turn it in along with his/her voted provisional ballot at the polling place.  

If the indigent voter chooses not to turn in the affirmation on Election Day at the polls, he/she has six calendar days after the election to submit the affirmation to his/her county Board of Elections. This can be done electronically, by mail, by fax – or in person at the county Board of Elections. Provisional ballots of voters who do not comply within six calendar days after the election will not count.

Note: Because six calendar days after the November 6 election falls on Monday, November 12 – and government offices are closed for Veterans’ Day – the deadline for provisional ballot voters to provide information to their county Boards of Elections is Tuesday, November 13.

M. What happens if a voter has an acceptable photo ID but forgets to bring it to the polls?

Voters who have an acceptable photo ID, but do not bring it when they come to the polls in November (let’s say, for example, the voter didn’t know about the photo ID requirement or forgot his/her photo ID) must vote by provisional (paper) ballot. There will be a form at the polling place for the voter to fill out that affirms that he/she is voting by provisional ballot because, although he/she has an acceptable photo ID, he/she didn’t bring it. 

In order for the provisional ballot to count, the voter has six calendar days after the election to provide his/her county Board of Elections with the affirmation form he/she signed at the polls along with a copy of his/her proof of identification (i.e., the identification he/she would have brought to the polls). A voter can do this electronically, by mail, by fax – or show up in person at the county Board of Elections. Provisional ballots of voters who do not comply within six calendar days after the election will not count.

See Note in Question L. above about the Tuesday, November 13, 2012 deadline for provisional ballot voters to provide information to their county Boards of Elections. 

N. Where is the Philadelphia County Board of Elections?

The Philadelphia County Board of Elections is located at 520 North Delaware Avenue, 5th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19123. Provisional ballot voters who want to go in person to the county Board of Elections can also go to the City Commissioners’ office in Room 142 in City Hall.

For a list of County Boards of Elections around the state, go to: http://www.votespa.com/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_532030_99273_13510_0_43/CountyContacts/Default.aspx.     

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