Montgomery County judge of elections asking voters for ID

A judge of elections in Montgomery County is asking all voters for ID.

John Lutz, judge of election for Cheltenham’s 7th ward, 1st District, told WHYY that between high volume, tricky names, signatures that evolve, and hard-of-hearing poll workers, asking for some form of ID can help smooth the process. 

“We’re not mandating it. We’re asking for it to make our job easier,” Lutz said. “I’m allowed to ask. It’s not illegal for me to ask.”

What if someone declines to provide ID? “If you’re in the book you get to vote,” Lutz said. 

The Pennsylvania Department of State only requires people to show ID if they are voting at a polling place for the first time. A 2015 guide from the Department of State on voter ID requirements states, “Poll workers should not ask every voter for photo identification. In 2014, the Commonwealth Court held that the in-person proof of identification requirements enacted under Act 18 of 2012 were unconstitutional.”

Lutz is an elected Republican judge of elections, but he described his personal politics as “unaffiliated.”

So far, voter turnout has been strong, and morning lines were long in Lutz’s district. “I think we’re up to 580 people have come so far… that’s a fantastic number. I think on the primary we only had 300 for the whole day,” he said. “For how many voters we have, we are at like 36 percent have already voted, and it’s lunchtime.”

Amy Terry, came out to vote after a 2 a.m. shift at Jefferson Hospital. She said she’s less optimistic than she’s been in the past, but would not miss the opportunity to have her voice heard.

“I have disagreements about both candidates, but I have to choose one, because I want my vote to count. I can’t complain about a system if I’m not doing anything to change it.” Terry said she voted for Hillary Clinton.

Business owner Joe Tighe said he’s a registered Republican, but he split his ticket. He voted for incumbent Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey to put a check on Hillary Clinton, who got his vote but not necessarily his trust.

“This election feels scary to me, because I don’t trust Hillary and I don’t trust Donald either. I’m not real happy with either one of them. I wish we had a different candidate,” Tighe said. “I voted for Hillary only because I think I can trust her more.”

In North Wales, golf professional Brian Way said he voted for Barack Obama in 2008, Mitt Romney in 2012, and went straight Republican today.

“I want to see this country go in a different direction. I don’t think more of the same is the way to go and I think he might be the one to do it.” 

Shetorra Nichols came out to vote with her 79-year old grandmother, Jacqueline Grimes, and both chose Hillary Clinton.

“I think it’s important to show our young women that we too can be leaders of our country,” Nichols said.

“I have two small children, so I’m worried about their education. I’m worried about the state of health care…. So it was very important to me to make sure I got out and voted today.”

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