Months after the passage of the into law, state officials have identified that nine percent of Pennsylvania's 8.2 million voters do not have photo identification and are working to ensure they can participate in November's general election.
After a review of the PennDOT database, the Pennsylvania State Department announced that more than 750,000 registered voters could not be matched with a photo identification.
Bucks County, with 25,449, and Montgomery County, with 44,952, fall into the top five counties that have registered voters without photo IDs, along with Philadelphia (186,830), Allegheny (99,218) and Delaware (40,547) counties.
A portion of those figures include inactive voters, characterized by the State Department as registered voters who have not cast a ballot since 2007. A spokesperson told the Morning Call that a large number of inactive voters are figured to be college students who no longer live in the state.
According to a release by the State Department, all voters identified as not having a PennDOT ID number will be contacted by letter this summer, reminding them of the new voter ID law, what IDs are acceptable for voting purposes, and how to get a free ID if they don't have one.
A few factors were not taken in to consideration during the database analysis, the release said. If the name on a voter registration is a variation from the name on the photo ID, such as John and Jonathan, it may have been reported as not having the PennDOT ID. Additionally, there are other forms of identification acceptable for voting purposes besides a PennDOT ID. Those include identification from one of the following sources:
- accredited Pennsylvania colleges or universities
- Pennsylvania care facilities
- military identification
- valid U.S. passports
- other photo identification issued by the federal or Pennsylvania government
- employee identification issued by the federal, Pennsylvania, or a county or municipal government
All identification used for voting must have an expiration date and be current, except for Pennsylvania driver's licenses or non-driver photo identification, which are valid for voting purposes one year past their expiration. Retired military identification with an indefinite expiration date is also valid for voting purposes.
Voters who do not have an acceptable form of photo identification for voting can get one for free at any PennDOT driver license center.
“We are committed to helping any eligible voter who does not have an acceptable ID get one to be able to vote in November,” said Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele in a news release. “We are continuing our outreach to get the word to voters about this law. The goal of this law is to allow every legal voter to cast a ballot, but detect and deter anyone attempting to vote illegally.”
Governor Tom Corbett signed the controversial voter ID bill in March, saying the law aims to prevent fraud at the ballot box. Opponents countered that the ID requirements would disenfranchise the elderly, minorities and low income voters.
The ACLU of Pennsylvania has filed a suit challenging the law, which will go before Commonwealth Judge Robert Simpson in Harrisburg on July 25.