Pa. begins preparing election officials for voter ID requirements

    Since Pennsylvania’s voter ID law has cleared its first legal hurdle, the people on the front lines of the law are getting some formal direction from the state.

    This week, county election officials from across the commonwealth are gathering at an annual conference in Centre County.

    Department of State spokesman Ron Ruman says his agency will work with those who oversee the physical work of administering an election and explain how things will be different, given the new photo ID requirement.

    “We will be giving specific poll worker training and guidance for the county election officials at that time, as well as mailing it to poll workers and certainly doing what we can to answer any questions election officials might have,” Ruman said.

    During the court challenge, election officials from Philadelphia and Allegheny County said the voter ID law could cause long lines and confusion at the polls Nov. 6.

    But Ruman says his office is confident election directors, judges of elections, and the poll workers at each precinct will be able to process voters efficiently — even with the new law.

    As the training begins, Pennsylvania is gearing up to make available the special identification card for registered voters who are unable to obtain another kind of acceptable photo ID in order to cast their ballots this fall.

    The Department of State says it will be ready next week.

    The ID will be for voting purposes only, and people will have to sign a paper acknowledging they cannot get the documents they need to obtain a PennDOT ID, Ruman said.

    “They still will need to provide their Social Security number and two proofs of residence and have their voter registration verified, which can be done electronically at PennDOT,” he said.

    The ID will be available at the state’s 71 PennDOT licensing centers.

    Nine counties do not have a PennDOT licensing center at all.

    A PennDOT spokeswoman says the agency’s web site allows people to find the closest licensing center to their ZIP code.

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