New Voter ID Law Explained

State Sen. Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-9) has this description of  Pennsylvania’s recently passed Voter ID law on his website:

A new law, Act 18 of 2012, requires all Pennsylvania voters to show a valid photo identification at the polling place in order to cast a vote, starting with the November 2012 general election.

Act 18 is designed to protect the integrity of your vote by helping to eliminate the possibility of fraudulent votes being cast. Here are some details you should know about the new law:

What if I forget to bring my photo identification to the polling place?

No one legally entitled to vote will be denied the right to do so.

If you forget to bring identification, you will be able to cast a provisional ballot. You will then have six days to present valid photo identification to your county election board, which can be done by email, mail, fax or in person. More information is available at the Department of State’s website

What if I don’t have any acceptable photo identification?

Voters who do not currently have a valid form of photo identification may obtain one from PennDOT at no cost. Detailed information about how to do this is available at PennDOT’s website.

What types of photo identification are acceptable? 

Valid forms of identification must include a name, photo and expiration date. Most people will use their driver’s license.

Acceptable forms of identification include:

  • Identification issued by the U.S. government that includes your name, a photograph, and a non-expired expiration date.*
  • Identification issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that includes your name, photograph, and a non-expired expiration date.**
  • Identification issued by an accredited Pennsylvania public or private institution of higher learning that includes your name, photograph, and a non-expired expiration date.***
  • Identification issued by a licensed Pennsylvania care facility that includes your name, photograph, and a non-expired expiration date.
  • Identification issued by a Pennsylvania municipality to an employee of that municipality that includes your name, photograph, and a non-expired expiration date.
  • For those with religious objections to being photographed, a valid without-photo driver’s license, or a valid without-photo ID card issued by PennDOT will be acceptable forms of identification at the polls.

What changes if I vote by absentee ballot?

A photo identification is not required to vote by absentee ballot. Voters who apply for an absentee ballot will be required to provide one of the following:

  • Your driver’s license number;
  • The last four digits of your Social Security Number; or
  • A copy of an acceptable photo identification.

More information is available at the Department of State’s website.

Will this law be in effect for the April 24, 2012, primary?

The April 2012 primary election will be used as a “test run” prior to full implementation of the law in the November 2012 general election.

At the primary election, poll workers will ask voters for photo identification and advise them that they must have one for the general election in November.


* In the case of identification issued by the U.S. Armed Forces or their reserve components (including the Pennsylvania National Guard) which establishes the voter as a current member or a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or National Guard and does not designate a specific date on which the document expires, the identification must include a notation indicating that the expiration is indefinite.

** If the identification was issued by PennDOT, it will remain valid for voting purposes for 12 months beyond the expiration date. 

*** Pennsylvania residents who attend out-of-state colleges will not be able to use their student identifications to vote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.