Free identification cards will try to increase access to the voting booth.
On Monday, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced new Department of State voter identification cards will be available for free at PennDOT Driver License Centers. They were first offered Monday in Pittsburgh and were scheduled to become available everywhere on Tuesday.
The local Driver License Center is located on Hatch Run Road.
The new cards were created as an alternative for persons who lack verification documents necessary for a secure Pennsylvania Photo ID, a non-driver's license ID card. PennDOT and the Department of State have been working together to give voters the opportunity to obtain photo identification since the Pennsylvania Voter ID law was enacted in March.
"Our goal is to ensure that every person who needs an ID can get one, and this new ID serves as a safety net for those who can't find or obtain verification documents normally required for a PennDOT secure identification card," Barry Schoch, PennDOT secretary, said.
According to the statement, the Department of State Voter ID is valid only for voting purposes. If a resident has the necessary documents, PennDOT's primary focus is to issue a secure Pennsylvania identification.
PennDOT works directly with the Department of Health to certify residents' birth record for those born in Pennsylvania who do not possess a birth certificate. Should they still not qualify for a PennDOT secure ID, the department works to issue the new Department of State Voter ID card.
Residents who want the new card will need to provide their name, address, Social Security number, proof of residency and previous name and address if they changed in the past 12 months. Applicants must complete Department of State ID application forms and sign documents affirming they are registered voters but have no other forms of identification which can be used for voting.
Staff at the Driver License Center will contact the Department of State to confirm applicants are registered to vote. Once verified, they will receive the free Department of State Voter ID, which is valid for 10 years.
To assist customers seeking Voter Identification cards, PennDOT has posted signs at its 71 Driver License Centers.