Philadelphia opts not to issue Voter IDs

The Nutter administration has decided not to follow the lead of Montgomery and Allegheny counties in issuing photo-ID cards for Philadelphia voters through county nursing facilities or Philadelphia Community College.

The city Law Department is not certain such IDs will be accepted at polling places and the city intends to use its limited resources in other ways to help registered voters who will need photo ID  to cast ballots in November, said Brian Abernathy, chief of staff in the city managing director’s office.

“With limited resources, the city’s efforts should and will be focused on actions that we know will be successful and guarantee voters the right to vote,” Abernathy said in an email to the PA Voter ID Coalition,  an amalgam of more than 150 organizations trying to help the public deal with the new voter ID requirements approved by the legislature and Gov. Corbett last March.

Mayor Nutter announced two weeks ago that the city would step up its efforts to publicize requirements of the new law and help provide transportation to get registered voters to PennDot offices to obtain photo ID cards when necessary.

The city’s initial plan was to let groups involved in the Voter ID Coalition use the city’s Zipcar account to rent vehicles to take people to PennDot licensing centers. But that plan fell through because of scheduling difficulties, Abernathy said.

The city’s new plan is to provide transportation directly, using city-owned vehicles and city fleet mechanics who’ve been assigned to light duties because of injuries, Abernathy said.    To his knowledge, he said, the city has not yet received any requests for transportation help from coalition members.