HARRISBURG, August 15, 2012 – State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Brookline) today called on the Corbett Administration to establish convenient neighborhood centers to help people obtain the necessary photo identification to vote.
“While I remain hopeful that the state Supreme Court will overturn this transparently partisan voter ID law, the Corbett Administration should be more actively helping citizens obtain these required ID cards,” Fontana said.
“If the Commonwealth is going to require voters to show photo identification at the polls on Election Day, the process of obtaining a valid photo identification card needs to be simpler and more convenient.
“For those who do not have a driver’s license, obtaining the necessary supporting documentation and getting to a Driver’s License Center is a serious challenge. There are 253 members of the state legislature with offices located throughout the state. Many of these offices have notaries on staff, computers and the technology necessary to assist voters seeking photo identification. The governor should authorize these state offices to produce the photo identification or at the very least, establish more centers in neighborhoods where individuals can go to get a photo identification. By bringing this service into communities we could make the process of obtaining a voter identification card more convenient instead of placing undue burdens on those seeking to exercise their constitutional right to vote.”
While the Commonwealth has enacted a system to verify birth records for those born in Pennsylvania who do not possess a birth certificate, the requirement that individuals must go to a Driver’s License Center remains. In cases where someone does not have a birth certificate, once PennDOT verifies birth records with the Department of Health, that person has to return to the Driver’s License Center a second time to obtain their new photo identification card.
“There could be over 700,000 voters in Pennsylvania who do not have valid photo identification,” Fontana said. “This law will disenfranchise thousands of voters even though nearly everyone agrees that there hasn’t been a voter impersonation incident in over a decade. Regardless of whether the Supreme Court overturns today’s Commonwealth Court Ruling, the governor, Department of State and PennDOT should be doing everything in their power to make this photo ID process as convenient and simple as possible.”
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