NORRISTOWN, Pa. - Those registered to vote in Montgomery County but still do not have a proper voter ID are in luck as commissioners' efforts are dedicated to the citizen's right to vote.
Beginning Wed., Oct. 3, Montgomery County will offer registered voters a free voter ID card, allowing everyone who is registered in the county the right to vote. The photo identification cards will be issued through the county's senior care facility, Parkhouse, which will be coming to multiple locations.
Through the Corbett administration, the voter ID law was enacted to require voters to have specific photo identification to be allowed to vote in the Nov. 6 general election, even if the citizen is registered to vote.
The commissioners are obeying a section of the voter ID law that states the care facilities are allowed to issue IDs to people who are not residents or staff.
A spokesman for Gov. Tom Corbett said last month that the administration is unhappy over plans by both Montgomery and Allegheny counties to issues photo identification cards.
Joshua Shapiro, chairman of the Montgomery County Commissioners, Vice Chairwoman Leslie S. Richards and Commissioner Bruce Castor stated on Monday their actions to make sure everyone within the county is allowed to vote, and all ensured they are nonpartisan in their efforts.
"We were a bit shocked and somewhat dismayed by the comments from the senior official at the Corbett administration, who expressed concerns about what we are doing in Montgomery County," said Shaprio,
The commissioners addressed the issues of concern from those in opposition to their efforts who said the Parkhouse IDs were a safety concern.
Shapiro explained the identification cards look very different than those issued to employees. They don't open any doors in Parkhouse, and it's clear from the writing on the ID that it is only for voting purposes.
It is expected to cost Parkhouse less than $5,000 to issue the voter IDs. The total cost of labor is $3,100, with each ID costing around $0.01.
Shapiro said 49,000 registered voters who live in Montgomery County do not have identification or have questions regarding the ID that qualifies them to vote in November.
The commissioners decided to proceed with getting their registered voters a voter ID card regardless of what Judge Simpson, in the Supreme Court rules.
"If we waited to see what direction the commonwealth board went in and then waited for the Supreme Court to decide on the issue...we might have been too close to the election to be ready to go .. no matter what happens," said Castor. "I believe we made the correct decision."
Everyone who comes will be asked three questions: If they are a citizen of the U.S., a resident of Montgomery County and if they are a registered voter of Montgomery County, and asked to sign an affidavit that it is true.
Also, they will be required to have one of the following seven items: A non-photo ID issued by Pennsylvania, a non-photo ID issued by the U.S. Government, a firearm permit, a current utility bill, a current bank statement, a paycheck or a government check. The process of getting the photo ID takes about a minute, as the commissioners demonstrated the process.
Richards, who is the chairwoman of the Montgomery County Board of Elections, stressed that there will be weekend and night hours, and multiple locations that are easy to reach by transit. You can check the schedule online.
The county is checking on a daily basis that it is up to date with the voter ID law and following code.
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