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ID Process Streamlined At PennDOT Offices

Some would-be voters without their birth certificate will no longer need to make two trips to PennDOT offices to obtain photo ID, thanks to a new electronic procedure.

A new procedure expected to be in place at PennDOT Driver's License centers by the end of this week will elliminate a problem in which prospective voters needed to make two trips to the agency in order to secure a form of identification that will be accepted at polling places on Nov. 6.

Previously, according to the Committee of Seventy, a non-profit, Philadelphia-based "think tank" group, voters who arrived at those PennDOT offices with a valid Social Security card but without an official copy of their birth certificate needed to wait about 10 days to have their birth records certified by the Department of Health. Only then could they return to a PennDOT office, with the birth records and the rest of the required documentation to get a PennDOT photo ID.

The new process will allow people to wait at the PennDOT office while their birth records are electronically certified.

“A same-day photo ID process allows voters to get a photo ID as late as November 6,” said Zack Stalberg, president and CEO of the Committee of Seventy, which says it prompted Pennsylvania's Department of State to make the change.

Despite the new procedure, Stalberg said, the PA Voter ID Coalition is strongly urging voters not to wait until the final days before the election to get a photo ID.

A challenge to the state's voter ID law was heard by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court last week. A decision is expected by the end of the month.

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