Pennsylvania polling places doing voter ID practice run
April 25, 2012 7:00 AM
Todd Berkey/The Tribune-Democrat
Congressman Mark Critz shows his photo ID to Kelly Swanson, minority inspector at precinct 17-2, as he prepares to vote today in Johnstown, Cambria County.
Election workers Tracy McDonough, left, and Ash Marwah spend their idle time in conversation outside the polling place at the Franklin Park Municipal Building today.
Dan Majors The Pittsburgh Press
Green Tree residents David and Sandra Gerlach vote in every election. Mr. Gerlach, a local parole officer, said he considers it "a privilege."
And showing a photo ID for the privilege? Well, he's just fine with that.
Voters talk about upcoming requirement to show identification
Voters express support, disagreement over requirement to show identification when voting in general elections. (Video by Nate Guidry; 4/24/2012)
"I'm glad they passed it," said Mr. Gerlach, 61. "You have to show your ID for lots of other things. At the airport, at the bank, lots of things."
"Why should it be a problem? Unless you've got something to hide," said Ms. Gerlach.
The photo ID requirement is new, put in place this year by the state Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett. It actually takes effect with the election in November, but authorities are having poll workers ask for IDs in today's primary balloting -- to get poll workers and voters familiar with the process.
Voters today did not have to show an ID when asked, but they will have to do so in November.
The accepted IDs include a state driver's license; a PennDOT non-driving photo ID card; a U.S. passport; photo IDs from the U.S. military, colleges and universities, or long-term care facilities, including personal care homes; or a federal, state, county or municipal government employee photo ID.
Many Oakland residents -- especially University of Pittsburgh students -- in the 4th Ward, 8th District, go to Posvar Hall on the Pitt campus to vote. With 3,000 registered voters, it is the largest district in the county.
Because of security provisions put in place since the recent rash of bomb threats, voters seeking to reach the polling place must show an ID to enter the building.
Still, it's showing the ID in order to vote that irks Jasmine Johnson.
"I am totally opposed to this," said Ms. Johnson, 19, a student from Maryland who was voting for the first time in Pennsylvania. "What if there's a problem with your student ID? Or you're from a small town and you never had to have an ID? I have friends who don't have driver's licenses.
"And it's not just young people. If you're elderly, you might not have a valid ID and it might be inconvenient or difficult to get the paperwork involved. I just think it's excessive and it's inconvenient."