Pennsylvania Voter ID law and registered voters in nursing homes by Granny
March 30, 2012
Two nursing home facilities are sited in the precinct where I live and vote. According to the 9/21/11 County of Bucks Voter Registration List for my precinct, there are 61 registered voters at these two facilities. My brother recently transferred to one of the facilities in October from a nursing home in New Jersey. A consistent voter in his former state, he has re-registered to vote in Bucks County and looks forward to the upcoming elections.
At a January 11, 2012 Voter ID forum held by the Bucks County League of Women Voters, State Senator Chuck McIlhinney (PA-10) was available to answer questions about Voter ID. I expressed my concern that my brother does not have a current photo ID. The Senator assured me that nursing homes have photo IDs available for their patients.
When I inquired to administrative staff at my brother’s nursing home I discovered they do not offer that option for their residents. This is just one nursing home so I don’t know the policies of the other facility in my voting district nor of the several other facilities in the surrounding area. With rising costs to provide quality care to the elderly, I can understand why adding Photo ID requirements to their costs would be prohibitive.
My brother has his original Social Security card and an original copy of his birth certificate. He does not have a valid/current photo ID. I can take him to DMV; however he is incontinent and moves around by wheel chair. A long wait at DMV may compromise his health.
- Should the nursing facility transport my brother and all other wheel chair registered voters at the facility to the nearest DMV office? Or—
- Will one or two staff from the DMV travel to nursing homes to process a “valid photo ID” for my brother and all the registered voters at the facility?
- Should the nursing facility spend shrinking funds to hire staff to verify Social Security numbers? Will that staff member be required to process/photograph my brother and others for a “valid photo ID”? Will the nursing home facility’s valid ID be acceptable to the Board of Elections? Will costs for processing Voter IDs be covered under Medicare/Medicaid? Will these costs be waived?
- Will nursing home staff complete requests to the Bureau of Vital Statistics for original copies of residents’ birth certificates? Will the fee be waived for nursing home residents? If not, will that fee be covered under Medicare/Medicaid?
- Will our state elected representatives take the financial burden of meeting requests from nursing home residents for original birth certificates? Will the fee be waived?
- Will nursing home residents (some in wheel chairs) who are transported to their polling place on election days be given diligence and patience by poll workers?
- For residents voting by absentee ballots, will the County Election Board make staff available at nursing home facilities to verify each resident completing the ballot?
- What financial burdens will County Boards of Elections absorb for the Voter ID processing requirements?
So many questions……so little time.
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