State Rep. Martin Michael Schmotzer, an opponent of , is encouraging local residents to take advantage of statewide programs that could assist them in obtaining valid identification for voting purposes.
Pennsylvanians can obtain non-driver's license photo identification cards for free at any of the state's Department of Transportation driver's license centers, Schmotzer points out in a news release from his office.
"In addition," Schmotzer says, "the Pennsylvania Department of Health is now issuing free birth certificates if you need one to get an ID that will be acceptable for voting. The health department is also giving refunds to those who have already obtained their birth certificate for voting and paid the $10 fee.
"The certificate must have been issued between March 14, 2012, through June 12, 2012."
More information about obtaining a Pennsylvania birth certificate for voting is available here.
"I believe these developments amount to an admission by the (Gov. Tom) Corbett administration that the voter ID law, which the Republican-controlled Legislature passed and the governor signed, was a mistake," Schmotzer says, "and they are trying to backtrack.
"There are no cases of voter impersonation fraud in Pennsylvania, so I am glad to see these changes being made to help people vote."
According to information released by the Department of State, registered voters who do not have verification documents necessary to get a Pennsylvania non-driver photo ID will be able to obtain a new Department of State ID card for free at any PennDOT driver's license center.
The documentation needed to obtain a Pennsylvania non-driver photo ID includes:
- Social Security card
- One of the following: Birth certificate with a raised seal, valid U.S. passport, certificate of U.S. citizenship or certificate of naturalization
- Two proofs of residency, such as a lease agreement, current utility bills, mortgage documents, a W-2 form, tax records, bank statements and/or credit card bills
College students may also use room assignment paperwork and one bill with their dormitory address on it.
If a voter cannot produce any of these documents, he or she is eligible for a free Department of State ID card. The Department of State ID card is valid for voting purposes only and is intended only for people who cannot produce proper documentation for other types of photo ID.
Registered voters who want the new Department of State ID card must provide a name, address, Social Security number, proof of residency and previous name and/or address if changed within the past 12 months.
"This new ID may help people whose names have changed due to a recent marriage, for example," Schmotzer says.
An applicant must complete a Department of State ID application form and sign a document affirming that he or she is a registered voter but has no other form of identification that can be used for voting. Once the voter's information is verified, the person will receive the free Department of State ID card, which is valid for 10 years.
Additional information on voting and the types of photo IDs that can be used at election polls this November is available online at www.votespa.com.
Schmotzer, a Democrat whose 22nd House District of Pennsylvania includes Brookline, said that any resident of the 22nd District who encounters problems with obtaining a voter ID or the documents needed for a voter ID should contact his office at 412-343-2094.