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HARRISBURG, August 17, 2012 – Following is the text of the letter State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Brookline) sent today to Gov. Tom Corbett urging him to make the voter ID process more simple and convenient for citizens seeking the necessary photo identification to vote:
Dear Governor Corbett:
With the controversial Voter ID law scheduled to fully take effect during this year’s November general election, I am requesting that you take additional steps to establish convenient neighborhood centers to help people obtain the necessary photo identification they will need to vote.
While we can disagree on the validity and need for the new law, I hope you agree that we should be doing what we can to make the process as simple, easy and convenient as possible for citizens seeking to obtain the required photo identification. For people who do not have a driver’s license, obtaining the necessary supporting documentation and getting to a Driver’s License Center can be a daunting challenge.
There are 253 members of the state legislature with offices situated throughout the state. Many of these offices are well-located in the community and have notaries on staff, computers and the technology necessary to assist voters seeking photo identification. I would request that you explore the prospects of authorizing these and other state offices across the state to produce the photo identification — or at the very least, establish more centers in neighborhoods where individuals can get a photo identification. The more one-stop-shops individuals have access to for acquiring the necessary identification, the more prepared the citizens of our state will be come time for the November election, I feel. Furthermore, by bringing this service into communities, we could make the process of obtaining a voter identification card far more convenient.
As things stand now, gathering the supporting documentation to get an ID card can be a serious problem and impediment to our citizens who want to exercise their constitutional right to vote. It has been estimated that a potential 700,000 voters in Pennsylvania do not have valid photo identification for November’s election. Essentially, this law threatens to 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 the August 16 Commonwealth Court ruling, state government should be doing all it can to make this photo ID process as convenient and simple as possible.
I appreciate your attention to this important matter and look forward to your response. I am also sending this letter to Secretary of State, Carol Aichele, to bring her attention to my suggestion.
WAYNE D. FONTANA