Pa. streamlines process for getting ID needed to vote

    The agency overseeing implementation of Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law has come up with a way to make it easier for residents to get the documents they need to secure a proper photo identification.

    Birth certificate, check.

    Not as in, a check for $10.

    Check, as in, state agencies are now cooperating to simply check birth certificate records of Pennsylvania-born residents who want to obtain a photo ID rather than requiring them to fork over $10 for a hard copy.

    From start to finish, the checking process should take only 10 days, says Ron Ruman, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of State.

    The streamlined process will be much quicker than the system now in place with its backlog of birth certificate requests slowing down the state.

    “In many cases, it could have taken up to 10 to 12 weeks,” Ruman said. “So this should eliminate the need for everyone in Pennsylvania, born in Pennsylvania, to get that birth certificate.

    Once a person’s status as a Pennsylvania native is confirmed, he or she still must bring other identifying documents to a Penn DOT licensing center.

    Ruman says when the voter ID law was passed, several state agencies began working together to make it as simple as possible for Pennsylvanians to obtain a photo ID. It took a while to develop this system of securely sending information electronically between PennDOT and the Department of Health, he said Thursday.

    “We have to make sure that it’s done in a way that the identity of everyone is verified,” Ruman said. “So I think we are turning over every rock that we possibly can, that’s certainly been out intent from day one, and working with other state agencies to do that as well.”

    Anyone who already ordered a birth certificate to comply with the voter ID law qualifies for a refund from the state.

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