2012-09-13 / Local & State

Voter ID Questions Answered!

By Dan Swain

FOR FULTON COUNTY

ELECTION BOARD

With the passage of Act 18 earlier this year, all voters must show an acceptable form of photo ID at the polling place prior to casting their ballot at the upcoming Election on November 6. The most common form of photo ID is the Pennsylvania Driver’s License. If you have a current Pennsylvania driver’s license, then you may use that as your photo ID for voting purposes.

Question: Does the name on the photo ID have to match exactly to the name in the poll book?

No. The name on the photo ID must “substantially conform” to the name in the poll book. People often use nicknames, middle names and initials as a substitute for their given name. For example, a voter whose name is Joseph Earl Voter or Margaret Smith Voter may have a photo ID that contains any one of the following which would be acceptable for voting purposes:

Joseph E. Voter, Joseph Voter, J. Earl Voter, J.E. Voter, Joe Earl Voter, Joe E. Voter, J. Voter, Earl Voter, Margaret Smith Voter, Maggy S. Voter, Maggie Voter, Peg S. Voter, M.S. Voter, M. Smith Voter, M. Voter, Margaret Smith. *

* In this example a voter who recently changed her name by reason of marriage presents a valid PA driver’s license or PA ID card accompanied by a PennDOT update card, which is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the voter ID law regarding proof of identification. To create less confusion at the polling place on Election Day, a voter who has recently changed their last name due to marriage, divorce, legal name change, etc., should consider submitting a name change to the Fulton County Voter Registration Office by October 9.

If you plan to use your current PA driver’s license as your photo ID and the name on your driver’s license substantially conforms to your name as listed in the voter registration records, then you may stop reading at this point because you will meet the photo ID requirements. If you have a question about whether the name on your photo ID substantially conforms to your voter registration record, you may either check your voter registration record online at www.votespa.- com or call the Fulton County Voter Registration Office at 717- 485-6872. If you do not have a current driver’s license, then below is a description of other forms of acceptable Photo ID.

First, a permit to carry firearms is not an acceptable form of ID.

So what are other acceptable forms of photo ID? All photo IDs must contain an expiration date unless noted otherwise below. An ID that is expired as of Election Day may not be used except where otherwise indicated. Acceptable

IDs include:

PA driver’s license or non-driver’s license photo ID (note that these IDs are valid for voting purposes 12 months past expiration date)

Photo IDs issued by the U.S. federal government or the commonwealth of PA including the PA Department of State ID for Voting Purposes

Valid U.S. passport (not expired)

U.S. military ID – active duty and retired military (a military or veteran’s ID must designate an expiration date or designate that the expiration date is indefinite). Military dependents’ ID must contain an expiration date.

Employee photo ID issued by federal, PA, county or municipal government (not expired)

Photo ID cards from an accredited public or private PA college or university (not expired)

Photo ID cards issued by a PA care facility, including long-term care facilities, assisted living residences or personal care homes (not expired)

Question: What if I do not have any of the above acceptable types of photo ID?

You may obtain a photo ID for voting purposes at no charge by going to one of the PennDOT photo centers listed below. You will have to fill out several forms, and you are encouraged to obtain the forms ahead of time and have them filled out before going to the photo ID center (where to obtain the forms is listed at the end of the following options). You will have one of three options (listed in likely order of preference).

Option 1: Former Pennsylvania drivers or holders of expired non-driver license photo ID

If you have ever had a Pennsylvania driver’s license, or a nondriver license photo ID, in most cases you will not be required to bring a birth certificate, or any other proof of identification or residence, to request a non-driver photo ID for voting purposes. You won’t even need your expired license if you no longer have it. You only need to give your name at a PennDOT driver license center, and once you are verified as being in the system, PennDOT will provide you with a non-driver license photo ID, free of charge, which you can use to vote. For licenses that expired prior to 1990, call Penn-DOT’s Customer Care Center, at 1-800-932-4600, to verify that your information is still in the system. This process will particularly help senior citizens who no longer drive and whose licenses have expired. Applicants under this option will have to fill out the following two forms:

Application (form number DL-54A)

Affirmation that they have no other acceptable form of photo ID for voting purposes

Option 2: Simplified process for people born in Pennsylvania to get a non-driver photo ID card for voting purposes

This system can certify the birth records of Pennsylvaniaborn persons without the need for them to purchase a duplicate birth certificate with a raised seal. Applicants under this option will have to fill out the following three forms:

Application (form number DL-54A)

Affirmation that they have no other acceptable form of photo ID for voting purposes

Department of Health form HD01564F (Request for Certification of Birth Record for voter ID purposes only).

The information will then be forwarded to the Department of Health, which maintains birth records. Once it is verified that the individual’s birth record is on file, applicants will be notified by mail when to pick up the non-driver photo ID card for voting purposes. The process, which is free, is expected to take about 10 days. The security measures used in obtaining this form of ID protect the privacy of the person applying for the photo ID and uphold the purpose of the voter ID law.

Option 3: The Department of State voter ID card

The Department of State voter ID card is designed to be a safety net for those who may not currently possess all of the documents they need for a standard photo ID from PennDOT. Only registered voters who do not have another photo ID acceptable for voting, who do not possess all of the documentation required to obtain the free penndot photo ID and cannot obtain the needed documentation, or cannot obtain the documentation without the payment of a fee will be eligible for a free Department of State photo ID card. Examples of missing documents include a certified copy of a birth certificate or social security card. All other eligible voters will be given a free PennDOT photo ID. All registered voters seeking to obtain a free Department of State ID for voting purposes must first apply for a free PennDOT photo ID for voting by completing the following forms:

Application (form number DL-54A)

Affirmation that they have no other acceptable form of photo ID for voting purposes

Department of Health form HD01564F (Request for Certification of Birth Record for Voter ID Purposes Only)

When a PennDOT customer service representative determines that a registered voter does not have the necessary documentation to receive a free PennDOT photo ID, the PennDOT employee will then begin the process of issuing a free Department of State photo ID for voting by asking for the following forms (These forms are available online by going to www.votespa.-com, click the voter ID link, and go to the bottom of the page or they may be obtained from the Fulton County Commissioners office):

Application for Department of State voter ID card

Affirmation for voters who do not possess proof of ID for voting purposes

Proof of residence verification form for Department of State voter ID card

The Department of State voter ID card is free and will be issued to voters for a 10-year period. It can only be used for voting purposes. For Pennsylvaniaborn voters, PennDOT will still use the process of confirming birth records electronically with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to issue non-driver’s license photo IDs for voting. Applicants will be asked to provide two proofs of residence, such as a utility bill, along with their date of birth and social security number, if the customer has an assigned number. The voter need not be in possession of a social security card. PennDOT will validate the voter registration status with the Department of State while the voter is in the Penn- DOT office. Upon confirmation of this information, the voter will be issued the voter card before leaving the Penn-DOT facility.

All forms listed above may be obtained online at the locations listed below or from the Fulton County Commissioners Office at 116 West Market Street, Mc- Connellsburg.

PennDOT Application (form number DL-54A): http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/voter/ voteridlaw.shtml

PennDOT Affirmation that they have no other acceptable form of photo ID for voting purposes http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/vo ter/voteridlaw.shtml

Department of Health form HD01564F (Request for Certification of Birth Record for Voter ID Purposes Only) www.seventy.org/ Downloads/ HD01564F_ Birth_ Record_ Request.pdf

Application for Department of State Voter ID Card www.snipurl.com/pavo- teridrequirements

Affirmation for Voters who do not Possess Proof of ID for Voting Purposes www.snipurl.com/ pavo - teridrequirements

Proof of Residence Verification Form for Department of State Voter ID Card www.snipurl.com/ pavo - teridrequirements

Question: Where is the nearest PennDOT Photo License Center?

The PennDOT Photo License Centers in Chambersburg and Bedford can issue non-driver license photo ID cards. The Mc- Connellsburg driver license center is not equipped to handle IDs that are being issued exclusively for voting purposes. The Chambersburg center is located at 190 Mill Road, Chambersburg, Pa. Hours of operation are Mon., Tues., Wed., Fri., and Sat. 8:30 a.m. – 4:15 p.m.; and Thurs. 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. The Bedford center is located at 137 Bedford Plaza Road, Route 30, Bedford, PA 15522. It is open Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For questions regarding obtaining a photo ID, please call PennDOT at 1-800-932- 4600.

Question: Are there any acceptable forms of nonphoto ID for voting purposes?

Yes. A voter who has a religious objection to being photographed may present a “valid without-photo” driver’s license or ID card issued by the PA Dept. of Transportation.

Question: May I receive a copy of my birth certificate for free for use in obtaining a photo ID for voting purposes?

Yes. The forms that must be filled out are available at http://www.portal.state.pa. us/portal/server.pt/commun ity/voter_ id/20978 or from the Fulton County Commissioners office.

Question: What if a voter does not present an acceptable form of photo ID?

If a voter does not present an acceptable form of photo ID at the polling place, the voter must be given the opportunity to vote by provisional ballot. In order for the provisional ballot to count, the voter must, within six calendar days after the day of the election, provide the county Board of Elections with a copy of an acceptable form of photo ID via mail, electronically (e-mail, fax, etc.) or in person along with an affirmation that the voter is the same person who cast the provisional ballot.

Question: What is proof of identification for a qualified absentee voter?

A voter must provide either 1) their driver’s license number or 2) photo ID number or 3) the last four digits of his or her social security number on their absentee ballot application. These voters are not required to submit a copy of a photo ID with their request for an absentee ballot. The only absentee voters exempt from this provision are those military voters entitled to vote by absentee ballot under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA). Who do I Contact with questions regarding voting or the Election Day process?

All voter registration questions should be directed to the Fulton County Voter Registration Office at 717- 485-6872 or 800-752-2806. All electionrelated questions should be directed to the Fulton County Election Board at 717-485-3691.

Where can I find more detailed information regarding Voter ID?

All voters are encouraged to visit www.VotesPA.com to learn more about voter ID. Just click the Resource Center tab on the Web site for detailed information, including Frequently Asked Questions.

Voters may also contact the commonwealth of PA by calling 1-877-VotesPA.

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