The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

July 3, 2012

State Department: Most registered voters have IDs

HARRISBURG — The vast majority of registered voters in Pennsylvania have identification that can be used for voting, according to a recent comparison of the Department of State’s voter registration rolls and PennDOT ID databases.

“This thorough comparison of databases confirms that most Pennsylvanians have acceptable photo ID for voting this November,” Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele said.

“This comparison takes into account only voters with PennDOT IDs, and does not include voters who may have any of the other various acceptable forms of ID.”

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.

County election directors will also be provided with the names and addresses of voters in their counties who did not match any record in the PennDOT database.

The database comparison shows:

— 91 percent of Pennsylvania’s 8,232,928 registered voters have PennDOT ID numbers.

— Of the 758,939 voters who could not be matched between the Department of State and PennDOT databases, 22 percent, or 167,566, are inactive voters, most of whom have not voted since 2007.

One of the reasons a voter can be put on “inactive” status is if he or she has not voted in five years. A notice must be sent asking if the voter is still at the listed address. If the voter does not respond to this notice, the voter is placed on “inactive” status.  Federal and state law require keeping an “inactive voter” on the registration list until he or she has not voted in two consecutive general elections for federal office after the date of the notice.

“Even though many voters identified in this comparison as not having PennDOT IDs are ‘inactive voters’, most of whom have not voted since 2007, we will err on the side of caution and include them in this mailing,” Aichele said.  

Other registered voters may not have matched PennDOT’s list due to a variation in names between the voter registration and PennDOT databases.

For example, an individual who is registered to vote as Jon Smith but whose driver’s license name is Jonathan Smith, would not show as a match, and be reported as not having a PennDOT ID number.

This list also does not take into account voters without PennDOT identification who have other acceptable forms of identification. Such other acceptable forms include identification from accredited Pennsylvania colleges or universities, Pennsylvania care facilities, military identification, valid U.S. passports, other photo identification issued by the federal or Pennsylvania government, or 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,” Aichele said. “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.”

To find the driver license center nearest you or get more information on the voter ID law, visit www.VotesPA.com or call 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772).

 

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