Confusion, anger over voter ID law

Sen. Daylin Leach proposed a law to repeal a bill that could make it hard for hundreds of thousands to vote this election.
RIKARD LARMA/METRO

One day after a Pennsylvania lawmaker announced plans to repeal the state’s controversial voter ID law, the Department of State has introduced a new voter ID card.

The new law will require voters to present a valid driver’s license or another government-issued form of identification, starting with November’s presidential election.

The new voter cards, which will be issued by the Department of Transportation, are meant to help voters who cannot provide all the documentation needed for a photo ID, such as a birth certificate or social security card. Residents will only have to present two proofs of address, their date of birth and social security number.

The cards, which will be free of charge, will be issued on the spot starting the last week in August, according to Commonwealth Secretary Carol Aichele. The cards will be issued for a 10-year period and will only be good for voting.

Aichele made the announcement Friday, one day after Democratic Sen. Daylin Leach announced plans to introduce a bill that would repeal the law.

Leach said Friday that the new voter cards will still not help many senior citizens who have difficulty traveling to license centers and out-of-state residents.

“They’re trying desperately to make what is clearly an unconstitutional and highly immoral bill a little bit more appealing. I think it’s not going to work,” he said.

Some groups that are trying to educate voters about the requirements support the voter cards, but are worried that it could cause more confusion.

“Now what should I say? Should I say ‘Don’t do anything? Don’t go to PennDOT because they’re going to have these new cards?’” asked Ellen Mattleman Kaplan, of the Committee of Seventy. “There are just a lot of loose ends here that make people that are trying to alert people about the law unsettled because I don’t know what to tell them.”


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