Josephine Givnin is 99 and a regular voter, but to cast a ballot this year she needs a photo identification card – which she lacks because she never had a driver’s license. Cards are free at Pennsylvania driver’s license centers, but to get one, Givnin first needed copies of her birth certificate and Social Security card. So about a month ago, her daughter, Maureen Givnin-Haas, who lives with her in Mountain Top, took a day off from work. They drove to Scranton, one of six cities where the state Department of Health issues birth certificates, to obtain the document for her mother. Later, they went to a Social Security office to get a Social Security card. When they have another free day, they will go to a driver’s license center of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to receive a photo ID card.
Obstacles that voters like Givnin encounter led to a challenge of the photo ID law, which the Legislature enacted this year to deter vote fraud. Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court is scheduled to decide on July 25 whether to grant an injunction against the law.
In a challenge, 10 citizens and four groups list examples of voters who cannot obtain birth certificates from other states, have trouble traveling to driver’s license centers because of disabilities or face other obstacles because of the law.