Voters don't have to 'show it,' but may not know it
Carolina Blazina thought she had everything squared away when it comes to voting in today's election.
“You need a photo ID,” Blazina, 53, of Harrison said when asked what she would need.
But that is not the case.
Pennsylvania's voter ID law is still hung up in the judicial system as Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley has not ruled on it. McGinley must decide whether the law, which is being challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union as unconstitutional, should be stopped with a permanent injunction.
In August, McGinley issued an order saying voters do not have to show identification for today's election. However, poll workers can still ask for it.
“I don't think it should be like that,” Blazina said. “We don't need it. I think it is to keep people from voting.”
“I heard it was not necessary,” said Hollie Miller, 50, of New Kensington.
She said she thought it was required until she heard a news report that said voters do not have to show ID.
Miller also thinks the law isn't needed. She thinks it could prevent some senior citizens from voting.
“The elderly have a hard time,” she said. “What if they don't have a driver's license? What if they can't find their birth certificate?”
“They have a right to have their voices heard,” she said.
Miller, a former notary public, pointed out that when it comes to getting documents certified, even notaries are not required to ask for ID if they know the person. She said the polls, which are neighborhood-based, are like that.
“I'm from Aluminum City Terrace and when I go to vote, I know everybody there,” Miller said.
Taxpayers have spent $6 million in advertising for a voter ID law that Pennsylvanians don't have to obey for the fourth consecutive election on Tuesday. More than $1 million has gone toward television, radio and print advertisements since Sept. 30, urging voters to “show it” — even though they don't have to.
“No way are they (poll workers) to lead the voter to think that it may be the law,” said Westmoreland County Election Bureau Director Jim Montini.
But it seems as though voters have already accepted the law's requirement to show an ID, according to the directors of the elections bureaus in Butler and Armstrong counties.
Shari Brewer, Butler County's elections director, said her office has not been getting calls to clarify what voters have to do. She said there were more calls last year for the presidential election.
“We got a few, basically wanting to know what was acceptable,” she said. “But nothing of what we were expecting with the Voter ID law.”
Brewer said some voters last year were irate about the law.
“We just told them, as far as the law, that we didn't make it — the legislators did. And we tried to point them in the right direction,” Brewer said. “I think at this point most of the voters are getting used to it. Once the law is changed, it shouldn't be a problem: Our voters are pretty well acclimated to it.”
The situation appears to be the same in Armstrong County.
“I haven't been really receiving a lot of calls,” said Wendy Buzard, director of Armstrong's Elections Bureau.
“We've told the elections officers to ask voters for IDs, and if they do not have them to let them vote,” she said. “Under a directive from the state, we are required to ask.”
She thinks most voters believe they have to show identification.
“It is very confusing,” Buzard said. “Why are we asking if it is not a law yet?
“In my opinion, we shouldn't be asking. But the Department of State is my boss when it comes to elections, and I have to listen to them.”
Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or email@example.com. The Trib's Melissa Daniels and Rich Cholodofsky contributed to this report.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ex-church youth leader to face trial for forcing teen girl to have sex
- Vandergrift man accused of sexual assault
- ATI contract expires today; union reports no progress in negotiations
- Leechburg residents begin holiday lights campaign
- Pittsburgh woman accused of shoplifting at Mills mall
- Record amounts of rain in Alle-Kiski Valley keep golfers off course
- Springdale Jubilee opens Tuesday; hours extended Thursday through Saturday
- Freeport board hires substitute superintendent
- Time is running out for ATI contract negotiations
- Harrison officer known for sense of duty, humor
- Steelworkers march for contract in Harrison