Another glitch has cropped up in the implementation of Pennsylvania's new voter identification law.
This time it involves the 74,000 state government employees.
Top of the list of acceptable forms of ID on the Department of State's website are the photo IDs provided to Commonwealth employees.
The only problem is, all forms of ID shown to poll workers this November must have expiration date.
State IDs have no expiration date.
"It's a catastrophe," said Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery) as he checked his Senate ID for an expiration date and found none. "It makes it clear that the law is an attempt to stop Pennsylvanians from voting. It's disgusting."
In a memo issued Tuesday to state employees, the Department of General Services said:
As most of you know, beginning with this November’s general election, a new law requires all voters to present an acceptable form of photo identification in order to vote. The law allows voters to use a variety of identification cards to satisfy these requirements. Although most voters already have an acceptable photo identification card, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has been conducting extensive outreach to ensure all that Pennsylvanians who are eligible to vote have the opportunity to do so under the new law. As part of those outreach efforts, we are offering any state employee the opportunity to have their employee identification badge modified with an expiration date so it can be used as an acceptable form of photo identification for voting.
If you wish to obtain an identification badge with an expiration date, simply contact your agency security liaison. The agency security liaison will coordinate with the Department of General Services, Security Administration Office to obtain the new ID badge. There will be no charge for this new badge. The expiration date will be five years from the date it is issued. If you do not know who your agency security liaison is, contact your agency’s human resources office and they will tell you.
Troy Thompson, spokesman for the Department of General Services. said the IDs would be produced in house and provided free of charge to employees. He said costs would not be able to be estimated until the state sees how many people need them.
"We want to make sure anyone who doesn't have an alternative can obtain that ID," said Thompson.
Department of State spokesman Ron Ruman says he's not sure when the hitch was noticed and he disagreed with contention that it was more evidence that the legislation was rushed through without proper forethought.
"We had a feeling probably state employees most likely had other IDs, but after law was passed we went about implementing changes to help ease the process for those who needed them," he said.
Ruman, who has been fielding numerous calls on the controversial voter ID issue, said the IDs will have a five year expiration date for voting purposes.
"The employee will not expire in five years," he said, adding he's trying to maintain his sense of humor.
In May, the Department of State revamped its policy for native-born Pennsylvanians who never had a driver's license and don't have a copy of their birth certificate.
Under the new law the state is to provide free voter ID cards for non-drivers. However under existing policy those individuals would have had to pay a $10 fee and wait ten weeks for a copy of their birth certificate.
Now native Pennsylvanians can go to a PennDOT office and have their birth records electronically verified by the Department of Health on the spot.
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