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Election 2012: How Do You Get a Valid Pennsylvania ID?

With the new voter ID law in effect for November's general election, here's all you need to know about getting the proper ID needed to vote.

Starting with the November general Election, Pennsylvania law will require voters to show an acceptable photo ID to vote at the polls.

All identification used for voting must have an expiration date and be current, except for Pennsylvania driver's licenses or non-driver photo identification, which are valid for voting purposes one year past their expiration.

Voters who do not have an acceptable form of photo identification for voting can get one for free at any PennDOT driver license center. What you need to do depends on whether or not you previously had a PennDOT-issued driver's license or ID.

Here is everything you need to know if you're planning to cast your ballot this fall.

Acceptable IDs include:

  • A Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT photo ID card (valid for voting 12 months past expiration date).
  • U.S. passport.
  • U.S. military ID (active duty and retired military IDs may designate an expiration date that is indefinite). Military dependents’ IDs must contain a current expiration date.
  • Employee photo identification issued by the federal government, Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania county or Pennsylvania municipal government.
  • Photo identification issued by an accredited Pennsylvania public or private institution of higher learning.
  • Photo identification issued by a Pennsylvania care facility, including long-term care facilities, assisted living residences and personal care homes.
  • If you have a religious objection to being photographed, acceptable IDs include the following: Pennsylvania valid without-photo driver’s license or PennDOT valid without-photo identification card.

Voters Who Had a Previous PennDOT License or ID

If you are a registered voter who previously had a PA driver's license or PennDOT photo ID card that has been expired more than one year:

  • Visit a PennDOT driver’s license center with a completed application for Initial Photo Identification Card (Form DL-54A). There is no need to bring any supporting documentation since identity and residency were previously validated by PennDOT.
  • You should provide your current address on the application. Obtain and sign an affirmation form, affirming that you do not have another acceptable form of ID for voting purposes. The form is available on PennDOT’s website or at a driver’s license center.
  • If you still have your expired Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT photo identification card, bring it along to the driver’s license center. However, if you no longer have it, PennDOT will be able to determine if you have an expired product. 
  • If you have a Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT photo identification card that expired prior to 1990, you should call PennDOT’s customer call center at 1-800-932-4600 to verify whether your record is still in PennDOT’s system.

Voters Who Never Had a PA Driver's License or ID Card:

If you have never had a Pennsylvania-issued ID and don't have an acceptable alternative ID, here's what you do:

  • Visit a PennDOT Driver’s License Center with a completed application for Initial Photo Identification Card (Form DL-54A).
  • Bring a Social Security card and either a certificate of U.S. citizenship, certificate of naturalization or birth certificate with a raised seal.
  • Bring two proofs of residency, such as lease agreements, current utility bills, mortgage documents, W-2 form, tax records.

Students, Homeless, Others

  • For students at least 18 years of age, accepted proofs of residency include the room assignment paperwork (considered a lease) and one bill with their dorm room address on it. Bank statements, paystubs and credit card bills are all acceptable.
  • Other individuals who may not have any bills, leases or mortgage documents in their name may bring the person with whom they are living along with that person’s driver’s license or photo ID to a driver’s license center as one proof of residence plus at least one more piece of official mail with their name and address.
  • Homeless individuals can use the address of a shelter as their residence provided they visit a driver’s license center with an employee from the shelter that has an employee photo identification issued by the shelter and a letter on the shelter’s letterhead indicating that the homeless individual stays at the shelter. 

To find the driver license center nearest you or get more information on the voter ID law, visit www.VotesPA.com or call 1-877-VOTESPA (1-877-868-3772).

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