A Voter ID Story


Fishtown’s Margaret Megill is 85 and needed a voter ID. Luckily, her daughter Margie Megill had the time and patience to help her get one. Because here’s how their day unfolded:

Margie downloads the Voter ID form from Penndot’s website and fills it out for Margaret. They drive to the PennDot center on Columbus Blvd, armed with Margaret’s birth certificate, Social Security and two bills proving Margaret’s address is legit.

At PennDot, an employee at the info desk tells them they have the wrong form. He gives them two new forms to fill out.

The PennDot office is very crowded. The women wait an hour for their turn with a clerk.

The clerk throws away the new forms they were given to fill out, saying the downloaded form was fine in the first place. She searches PennDot’s data base for Margaret’s prior driver’s license – if it can be found, the voter ID can be issued almost immediately. But she can't find it in the data base.

She says PennDot will need a copy of Margaret’s husband’s death certificate, since Margaret’s birth certificate shows Margaret’s maiden name, not her married name. She tells Margaret and Margie that, if they go home and get the document and return quickly, they won’t have to wait in line again when they return.

Margaret and Margie drive to Fishtown. Miraculously, the death certificate is easily located. Thanksfully, it lists Margaret's maiden name and married in the space marked "spouse." They return to PennDot. It is even more crowded than it was when they left. They look for their clerk, so they won’t have to wait.

The clerk is at lunch.

They are told she might be back “soon” but no one really knows. Margaret and Margie are about to leave when a very nice supervisor directs them to a counter where they are serviced immediately. This clerk, unlike the first one, locates Margaret’s former driver’s license in the data base. Margaret won’t need the death certificate after all, since the prior license is proof enough of who she is.

While Margaret is finalizing her voter ID, Margie notices that the supervisor is quietly locating the elderly and handicapped people waiting for service and escorting them to clerks for faster service. She is impressed by his kindness and compassion.

“He turned a frustrating experience into something almost pleasant,” Margie says.

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