PA’s New Photo ID Law — A Summary

On March 14, 2012, Pennsylvania enacted Act 18, the Photo ID Law.  The law, which will go into effect starting with the November 6, 2012 general election, amends Pennsylvania’s Election Code to require all voters who vote in person (as opposed to voting by absentee ballot) to present an approved form of photo identification.

Approved Identification:

The approved forms of identification are:

  • Driver’s license or photo ID card issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (“PennDOT”)
  • U.S. Passport
  • U.S. Military ID
  • Employee ID issued by the federal government
  • Employee ID issued by the Commonwealth or local governments in Pennsylvania
  • ID issued by an accredited Pennsylvania institution of higher learning
  • ID issued by a Pennsylvania care facility
  • Non-photo driver’s license or ID card issued by PennDOT

An ID only is valid if it contains an expiration date and is not expired (except for driver’s licenses and photo ID cards, which remain a valid form of voter ID for 12 months after they expire).  Military IDs that say they do not expire are valid.

Provisional Ballots: Voters who cannot show one of the approved forms of ID at the polls may submit a provisional ballot.  Those ballots only are counted, however, if, within six calendar days after the election, the voter either: (a) submits an affirmation along with an approved form of identification to the appropriate county board of elections; or (b) affirms to the appropriate county board of elections that he or she “is indigent and unable to obtain proof of identification without the payment of a fee.”

Absentee Voting:  The law requires voters entitled to apply for an absentee ballot to write on their application the number on their driver’s license or ID card, or the last four digits of their social security number.   Voters who do not have a driver’s license, ID card or a social security number must submit with their application or absentee ballot a copy of one of the other forms of approved identification for in-person voters listed above.

Additional Resources:

A summary of the law, prepared by the Pennsylvania Department of State, can be found here:  FAQ.

The text of the amendment itself can be found here:  Act 18.

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One response to “PA’s New Photo ID Law — A Summary

  1. Pingback: Applewhite v. Commonwealth — The Legal Challenge to PA’s Photo ID Law | Free and Equal PA

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