Voting accessibility

Anyone who can register to vote in Pennsylvania can get a free photo ID to comply with the state’s voter ID law. Those are the facts.

To register to vote, you must provide your name, date of birth, address, and your Pennsylvania driver’s license number or your Social Security number. If you have a PA driver license, that’s your ID for voting.

To get a Department of State voter ID card, you must provide your name, date of birth, address, and the last four digits of your Social Security number. The same information you give to register to vote, you give at a PennDOT driver license center to get a Department of State ID card, which is good for 10 years.

No documentation is needed. By signing a statement you have no other ID for voting, the voter ID card is free.

We believe the law will stand up in court, as the state has met its burden to see that any registered voter who wants an ID can get one for free.

I urge anyone not having an acceptable ID for voting to get one now, in anticipation of the laws being in effect this November.

In addition to PennDOT IDs, many other photo IDs are acceptable for voting.

College IDs are okay if they have expiration dates, which most now have. Nursing homes, personal care homes, and assisted living facilities can make IDs, so their residents need not visit PennDOT.

Military IDs, active or retired, valid U.S. passports, and employee IDs from Pennsylvania counties and municipalities, with expiration dates, are all valid.

You can also get a PennDOT non-driver photo ID, good for all ID purposes. These do require some documentation, including a Social Security card, two proofs of residence, such as utility and tax bills, and for non-Pennsylvania born citizens, a birth certificate with a raised seal. Pennsylvania-born citizens’ birth records will be verified electronically by PennDOT.

If you have an expired PA driver’s license, just give PennDOT your name and date of birth. They’ll find you in their system, update your photo and immediately provide you with a new PennDOT ID. More information is available on

The legislature enacted the voter ID law to preserve the integrity of every vote and bolster voters’ confidence in the fairness of our elections, by giving us a simple, common sense way to verify each voter’s identity.

This law will disenfranchise no one, but will protect legal voters by, to the best of our ability, making sure only those entitled to cast ballots do so.

Polls consistently show the public supports voter ID. Voters do have concerns about our electoral process. Last fall, the Department of State instituted an online voter complain form, so voters could send concerns directly to their county board of elections. A total of 534 voters did just that.

If you’re not registered to vote, do so. If you need an ID, get one. If you can do one, you can do the other.

Carol Aichele

Secretary of the Commonwealth