Pennsylvania Primary Will Test New Voter ID Law

Monday, 23 Apr 2012 12:39 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Pennsylvania’s primary Tuesday will provide a test ground for state officials to fine tune the new voter identification law before the November general election.

The voter ID legislation, which requires all voters to present a state-approved photo identification before casting their ballots, was enacted just over a month ago. But according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, state officials are still scrambling to figure out how to implement it, including how to make people aware of what IDs are acceptable and that come November, no photo means no vote.

“Tuesday’s election will be like holding a dress rehearsal while the writer is still working on the script,” the Inquirer noted.

Not many people are expected to be disappointed, however, if they show up without a photo ID on Tuesday. Those who don’t have one will still be allowed to cast their primary ballots if they voted previously in the same precinct or district, the Inquirer said.

Some poll officials in certain precincts will be asked to count how many people show up without proper identification, while others will be putting out sign up sheets for people who need help getting the right ID.

But the process of even deciding what’s acceptable could prove difficult, say opponents of the new law. For example, student photo IDs are acceptable, but many don’t meet the new standards of the law because they don’t have expiration dates on them.

Opponents, who say the law only discourages the elderly, the young, and the poor from voting also object to the fast roll out.

“If we had six months’ lead time, we would have had time to revamp our training for poll workers and implement a real soft rollout, to implement it well,” said Democrat Stephanie Singer, chairwoman of Philadelphia’s city commissioners, who oversee elections.

“The reasonable thing would have been to do a soft rollout in the November election and full implementatin next spring,” she told the Inquirer.

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