Central Pennsylvania voters should act now to make sure they have a proper photo identification card in case they need it to cast a ballot on Nov. 6.
As the law currently stands, all voters will have to show a valid photo ID before they can cast a ballot in the Nov. 6 election.
The state Supreme Court will hear arguments on Thursday about whether to delay the law, but people shouldn't wait on that decision to act. Observers expect the Supreme Court will split evenly on the matter, which would uphold a Commonwealth Court ruling that the voter ID requirement will be in force on Nov. 6.
Rather than waiting for the Supreme Court ruling, registered voters - or those who intend to register by the Oct. 9 deadline - should get their photo IDs in place now.
For most people, the requirement won't be a problem. A valid driver's license or nondriver's license photo ID - which might be used to cash checks, open bank accounts, get on an airliner, etc. - will work.
A comparison of databases earlier this year found 91 percent of state registered voters already have a PennDOT-issued photo ID.
But 750,000 Pennsylvania voters might have a problem, including more than 32,000 in Blair and surrounding counties.
Some might have a PennDOT-issued ID, but the names may not match up exactly with voter registration records, such as if one lists a middle initial and the other doesn't. As long as the names on the license and the voter rolls substantially conform, the ID will be acceptable, state election officials say.
Other acceptable photo IDs for voting include those issued by the federal and state government, accredited Pennsylvania colleges or universities, Pennsylvania care facilities and the military - as long as they have the person's name, photo, an expiration date and aren't expired. Valid passports and government-issued employee IDs also are acceptable, a Department of State press release notes.
For complete details, check the votespa.com website or call 1-877-868-3772.
Registered voters who lack a photo ID and don't have a birth certificate with a raised seal to get a regular free PennDOT-issued nondriver ID, the state has started issuing voter IDs at no charge.
The birth verification process takes about 10 days. Applicants should plan accordingly.
Those who show up at the polls without a valid photo ID will be given provisional ballots to cast. But for their votes to be counted, they must provide suitable identification to county board of elections within six days.
We want to see people avoid that hassle.
This is shaping up to be a close presidential election, and we want everyone to have a chance at casting a ballot - as long as they can prove they are who they say they are. That's only fair.
Election Day will be here before we know it. If you need a photo ID for voting, act now while the weather is still nice. You will be glad you did.