The lead plaintiff in the voter ID case got a photo ID last week, just one day after Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson refused to block the voter ID law. PennDOT said they gave Viviette Applewhite, 93, a non-driver photo ID even though she did not have the required Social Security card, because she fell within one of the agency’s unwritten exceptions. So what are these exceptions? And who can qualify? Applewhite said she took her raised-seal birth certificate and other government correspondence with her to PennDOT last Thursday when she got her ID. “I took about 10 or 15 documents with me and that lady sat there and read every one of them,” she said. Even though she had no social security card, her Medicare information did the trick. “I was so glad, I didn’t know what to do,” said Applewhite. She said she’s tried several times to get an ID after her purse was stolen eight years ago, but was unsuccessful.
Typically, in order to get a PennDOT driver’s license or non-driver’s photo ID, Pennsylvania residents must present a Social Security card and a raised-seal birth certificate or one of another list of specified documents. Click here to see the list. But Janet Dolan, PennDOT director of the Bureau of Driver Licensing said there are some limited exceptions to the rule.
“We look at everything on a case-by-case basis,” said Dolan. She said the agency has an unwritten policy that allows limited exceptions for those who do not have a Social Security card, especially elderly residents. “We tell everyone what they are required to bring and then, as they come in and see us, depending on what they bring in lieu of that, we make those decisions.”