The Pennsylvania Department of State and PennDOT declared Tuesday that they have met the standard set by the state Supreme Court last Wednesday on "liberal access" to identification needed to vote in the Nov. 6 general election. That declaration comes one week before state Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson must rule on whether any voters will be disenfranchised by the state's Voter ID law.
Secretary of State Carol Aichele, in a statement released Tuesday morning, said the process for obtaining a new state ID developed for voting has now been streamlined. A voter must visit a PennDOT office and provide their name, date of birth, Social Security number and address. PennDOT will confirm if the person is a registered voter and issue the ID.
Opponents of the law and voter registration advocates had complained that voters trying to get the new state ID were required to make multiple trips to PennDOT offices and wait several days.
"We believe these updates to our process will meet the Supreme Court standard that Voter ID cards be liberally accessible," Aichele's statement said.
Simpson, in an Aug. 15 ruling, rejected a challenge to the Voter ID law, relying heavily on the availability of the new identification cards, even though they were not offered until Aug. 27. The Supreme Court last Wednesday gave him until Oct. 2 to review how the new identification was being issued. The Supreme Court said Simpson was "obliged" to issue a preliminary injunction to keep the law from being used in the general election if it would prevent any voter from casting a ballot.