PA Officials Water Down Voter ID Law in Effort to Save It

Sep 26 2012 Published by under Featured News

There was a small victory for representative democracy in Pennsylvania. While Judge Robert Simpson is following a Supreme Court order to review his ruling upholding the State’s voter ID rules, State Officials announced some changes to the current Voter ID requirements. 

It appears that Carol Aichel, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State has learned something about the law she admitted she knew nothing about, in testimony  to Judge Simpson’s court.  Perhaps the Per Curium order by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court was a hint that Judges weren’t buying the claim  that 99% of Pennsylvanians are not affected by this law.

One of the interesting features of Pennsylvania’s new ID law lies in the extreme to which it has gone.

Under the previous law identification was only required for people who were voting in a polling place for the first time.  Moreover, when ID was required, non-photo documents like utilities bills and bank statements were allowed.

Now, Pennsylvania has one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country, in the name of delivering the state to Mitt Romney. Every voter must show a legally mandated photo ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, active duty military identification, nursing home ID or college student ID.

The Post-Gazette reports:

PennDOT’s deputy secretary for safety administration, Kurt Myers, outlined the changes this morning, and they were formally announced by Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele shortly thereafter.

In fact, Aichele’s statement included ,at the very least, an implicit admission that the law was inconsistent with established legal standards intended to protect Americans’ right to vote. Whether these changes are enough to satisfy the court that the voter ID law reaches legal standards designed to protect voter rights remains to be seen.

 We believe these updates to our process will meet the Supreme Court standard that voter ID cards be liberally accessible,” said Carol Aichele, secretary of the commonwealth.

The York Daily Record reports,

As a result, a registered voter will no longer be required to first try to get a “secure” photo ID from the state that can be used for non-voting purposes, such as cashing a check or boarding an airplane. Also, the person seeking the voting-only photo ID will no longer need to show two documents that prove where they live.

However, the person seeking the voting-only ID will still need to swear – under penalty of law – that they have no other form of ID that is valid under the law and give their name, date of birth, Social Security number and address”

According to Pdot’s website  you will need the following documents to get an ID for voting purposes only.

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security number (If the customer has been issued      an SSN)
  • County
  • Previous name and/or address if changed in the past 12  months.

You will no longer need the previously required 2 proofs of residency.

Under the State Supreme Court’s order, Simpson must decide whether to uphold or reverse his ruling by October 2nd.

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