2012-09-06 / Letters

Outlines Steps To Get Voter ID

To the Editor:

The citizens of Fulton County need to know that the Pennsylvania Department of State has come up with some new requirements on how voters who do not have a current driver’s license (or other form of government-issued ID or birth certificate) must obtain a state-issued ID card in order to vote in the upcoming elections. It is still a cumbersome process that has been somewhat simplified, but still not simple.

As you are probably aware, the Pennsylvania law that has made this photo voter ID card necessary, as well as similar laws passed elsewhere in states around the country, is being contested in the courts. A federal court in Charlottesville recently overturned the Texas state voter-ID law. The Pennsylvania photo voter-ID law will be heard by the State Supreme Court in mid-September. So it is quite possible that our own law will be overturned prior to the election in November.

In the event, however, that the PA state provisions remain on the books, voters need to know exactly what steps they will need to obtain their voter ID.They need to act quickly so that they will be ready to cast their ballots on November 6.

If you are already registered to vote but do not have a current PA driver’s license (or other form of government-issued ID, such as a United States passport) you should start by heading over to state Representative Hess’s office (open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and ask for three forms (1) a Request for Initial Issuance of Pennsylvania Department of State ID for Voting Purposes (2) an Affirmation that Voter does not Possess Identification for Voting Purposes and (3) Department of State ID for Voting Purposes Proof of Residence Verification. (These forms are also available on-line.) www.VotesPA.com (then click for more information on PA’S new voter ID). There you will find forms you can print online.

These forms require that you have certain documentation available, such as your name, social security number, current address (including county), as identified on such forms as utility bills or mortgage or bank statements, paycheck, or W-2 and/or other tax forms. You must take with you to the driver’s license center two forms of ID as mentioned above.

Once you have filled out these forms (they do not need to be notarized), you must take them in person to a full-service driver license center such as the one at 190 Mill Road in Chambersburg. The photo ID office in Mc- Connellsburg is not set up to process these forms.

The staff at the driver’s license center will review and validate the information that you have provided and, once verified, will issue you your new voter ID card. No fees are required to obtain the voter ID.

If you used to drive and then stopped driving and you have an expired driver’s license in your possession that is not more than 12 months past its expiration date, you can short-step this process. All you have to do in that case is take your expired license to Representative Hess’ office and ask for PA form DL-54A (12-10) Application for Initial Photo Identification Card. Once you submit this form, along with the license itself, Representative Hess’s office will forward it to Harrisburg and you will receive your new voter-ID card in the mail.

If you are a college student, you must apply for the state-issued photo ID unless your college-issued ID includes an official expiration date that is still valid.

Pennsylvania also issues what they call a “secure” ID card that can be used for voting as well as other legal purposes. These cards are a little more complicated, even though many of the requirements are the same. If you are interested in obtaining one of these, please contact Representative Hess’s office. (Be prepared either to provide or obtain information relating to your birth certificate.)

And if you have never registered to vote, voter registration forms are available at the commissioners’ office and must be filled out and submitted no later than October 8.

If you need transportation to the driver’s license center in Chambersburg, please call 717- 485-5602 and leave a message. There is a group of volunteers who will provide transportation to the Chambersburg license center.

Every citizen in this country has the right and obligation to vote. Each and every one of us most do everything in our power to exercise that right and make our voices heard.

If you have any questions on voter ID, here are some phone numbers and Web sites:

DMV: 1-800-932-4600 press (1) for driver’s license services and (0) to talk to a real person. ww.dmv.state.PA.US Department of State: 1-877-868-3772. www.dos.State.PA.US State Senator John E. Eichelberger, 717-485- 3616 (Wednesdays only), 814-695-8386 (all other days).

Joy Dasher

Big Cove Tannery

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