It's required to fly on a commercial airline, rent a car, purchase alcoholic beverages, secure a mortgage, buy a gun, stay at a hotel, cash a check, acquire an over-the-counter fishing or hunting license, or to apply for a concealed-carry firearm permit.
It’s a state-issued photo identification card.
And as this year’s general election draws near, you can expect to hear a lot of fuss—most of it decidedly partisan—about some states’ requirement that voters present a valid photo ID card at the polls in November.
Unless the law is overturned, this will be the first election that voters in Pennsylvania will be required to have IDs to vote.Reading some of the newspaper editorials and accounts by some political pundits, one might surmise that passage of the law in The Keystone State was part of a covertly hatched scheme by a Republican-led legislature to “disenfranchise” hundreds of thousands of citizens.
In his remarks at the NAACP annual convention last week in Houston, Texas, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder compared voter ID requirements to discriminatory “poll taxes” used in some Southern states following the abolition of slavery to prevent African Americans from voting.
Pennsylvania’s new law requires every voter to have a valid photo ID at the polls on November 6. In addition to an ID issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), other valid forms of photo ID include those from accredited Pennsylvania colleges or universities and Pennsylvania eldercare facilities.
A total of 10 states have passed measures that require a photo identification to vote. U.S. Justice Department action has struck down the law in Wisconsin, delayed it in South Carolina and continues to challenge the provision in Texas as the election nears.
News reports from Pennsylvania last week indicated that PennDOT data shows nearly 800,000 persons of voting age—or 9.2 percent of the state’s 8.2 million persons age 18 and older—don't possess a valid state driver’s license.
While we’re not questioning PennDOT’s figures, it’s difficult to fathom not possessing some type of state-issued photo identification in this day and age.
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