By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Department of State announced on Friday that it has created a new, more accessible photo ID just for voting. The announcement came less than five days before the ACLU lawsuit to overturn the law was expected to go to trial in Harrisburg.
“If you cannot meet the requirements of the PennDOT issued ID, they would offer you the next option, which would be a Department of State Voter ID card,” says Department of State spokesman Nick Winkler.
He says voters can get the new photo ID card from PennDOT licensing facilities without having to produce documents, such as a birth certificate.
“You have to provide two proofs of residence, such as a utility bill and their date of birth and social security number. And then what will happen from there, PennDOT will verify with the department of state while the voter is there. And then the card will be issued before the voter leaves the facility that day.”
Attorney Jennifer Clarke of the Public Interest Law Center is one of lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the ACLU voter ID lawsuit. She says the new card does not impact their case.
“It’s an admission that they have a big problem,” she says. “It’s an admission that there are hundreds of thousands of people who can’t get ID under the current rules.”
Clarke says even if the new ID were a partial solution to the problem, it comes too late given the proximity of the November election.
“This is something that only has recently been invented….there are just too many questions, too many people and not enough time.”
Winkler says the Department of State has been working to develop the free card for the past two months to ensure that all 8.2 million Pennsylvania voters will have access to the polls in November.
He says the state will roll out the new card in late August.