Pennsylvania’s Department of State said Friday it will offer a special photo ID card for voters who are unable to obtain birth certificates or other documents for a non-driver ID issued by the Department of Transportation. Secretary of State Carole Aichele said the new card is designed to provide “a safety net” for voters who are unable to get the documents they need for a PennDOT ID. It will be available through PennDOT starting the last week of August. “The creation of these voter cards is an important step in the implementation of the voter ID law,” Aichele said. “Everyone who needs ID to vote will be able to get it months before the election.” The new card, which will be free and valid for 10 years, will be added to an already long and often complicated list of government and other IDs that have been deemed acceptable under the tough new law that takes effect on Nov. 6, Election Day.
“Anything that makes it easier for eligible voters to vote and get the identification they need, we’d support,” said Republican Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt, during a taping for NBC10 @ Issue. Plans for the special card came to light this week in a legal brief filed by civil rights groups that are challenging the constitutionality of the new law on behalf of 10 registered voters and seeking to block enforcement of the law. A hearing on the case is scheduled to begin July 25 in Commonwealth Court.