Pennsylvanians who vote by absentee ballot in November will need only to provide proof on their applications that they have Social Security cards, state Rep. Dan Frankel said Monday night. All voters who show up in person on Election Day, however, must have state-approved photo identification, the Squirrel Hill Democrat said. “If the last four digits [of a Social Security number] are good enough for absentee ballots, they should be good enough for voting at the polls,” he said during a discussion of the state’s new voter ID law.
Democrats on Allegheny County’s election board plan to challenge the state’s new voter ID law as being too expensive and too difficult to implement in time for the November presidential election. That claim will be at the heart of a lawsuit the election board is expected to bring next week, county Executive Rich Fitzgerald said at a news conference Friday. Rather than challenging the constitutionality of the law itself, as the American Civil Liberties Union and others are doing, local officials say the new law is too complicated and expensive to put in place by Nov. 6. Mr. Fitzgerald is one of three members of the election board. The new law requires voters to show government-approved photo identification before they can cast ballots. Mr. Fitzgerald said it would be prohibitive for the county to train the more than 6,500 poll workers who man the county’s 1,300 polling places. He said there would not be enough time to train them in new procedures required to check identifications and allow voters to use provisional ballots if they don’t have proper ID.
Pennsylvania: Frankel Announces Package of Bills to Lessen “Damaging Effects” of New Voter ID Law | Essential Public Radio
Even as Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law goes through legal challenges, one lawmaker is introducing a package of bills aimed at “fixing” parts of the bill. The so-called “Every Voter Counts” package contains three parts. The first part would create an online voter registration system. The second would require the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to use new technology and mobile outreach to help registered voters obtain needed photo identification. “They would go into communities, into senior centers, go to places where people with disabilities congregate, go into distressed areas and rural areas where people need to obtain these voter IDs,” said Representative Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny). The third part would address the step that many need to take to get ID: obtaining a birth certificate. In Pennsylvania, the cost to get one is $10, but if someone was born out of state, the costs go up, and can be prohibitive for some. “That amounts to a poll tax for many people, in my view,” said Frankel. “In other words, you’re going to have to pay something in order to get the right to vote. That’s not constitutional. So my bill would reimburse everybody up to $50 for the cost of obtaining their birth certificates.”