This past week, after a contentious debate, the Pennsylvania House passed HB 934, a voter ID bill based on the ALEC template. Almost immediately, the Governor signed it, which, in my opinion only emphasizes the partisan nature of the bill itself. Until there is a legal challenge, it loos as if this is not PA law, and only registered voters with a valid ID will be able to vote in this year’s elections.

So what constitutes an acceptable ID? What ID’s will work, and what ID’s will not be enough? The information below makes it clear what ID’s are OK, and anything else is not OK. Additionally, if you do not have an approved ID, what you need to get one is also detailed below. I have highlighted some text in RED to draw additional attention to it. For folks within the LGBTQ community, especially trans persons and those who don’t conform to what is thought of as traditional gender roles, this is where a real problem may occur.

Also note the comment at the bottom- the ACLU can assist you if you feel you can not meet these requirements.

Approved Forms of Photo ID for Voting

In order to vote under the new voter ID law, you must present one of the following forms of ID:

  • A current Pennsylvania driver’s license, or one that expired after November 2011;
  • A current Pennsylvania photo ID card issued by Penn DOT, or one that expired after November 2011;
  • A current U.S. passport;
  • A U.S. military or Pennsylvania National Guard photo ID (note: it must include “a designation that the expiration date is indefinite”);
  • A U.S. government-issued photo ID, e.g., agency employee, armed services, etc.;
  • A current employee photo ID issued by a Pennsylvania county, city, town, township or borough;
  • A current student photo ID issued by a Pennsylvania college or university (note that only ID’s containing an expiration date can be used. For instance, University of Pittsburgh’s IDs are accepted, but Penn State, LaSalle and Drexel’s are not.); or
  • A current photo ID issued by a licensed nursing, personal care or assisted living facility (note that only ID’s containing an expiration date can be used);

For any of these ID’s, the person has to look like the person in the picture, and the name on the ID has to “substantially conform” to the name on the voter registration record.  Both of these may be problems for some people.

If the person does not have one of these ID’s, they will have to obtain an ID from Penn DOT.  In order to do so, they must produce an original Social Security card and one of the following types of identification:

  • An original birth certificate, i.e., one that has a “raised seal.”  (You can’t use a photocopy or a hospital registration. );
  • U.S. citizenship certificate;
  • Naturalization certificate; or
  • Valid U.S. passport.

In addition to the identification documents described above, the applicant for photo ID must present two forms of proof of residency from the following list:

  • Tax records
  • Lease agreement
  • Mortgage documents
  • W 2 form
  • Current gun/firearm permit
  • Current utility bill

If you know of someone who currently does not have one of the accepted forms of ID listed above and will likely have difficulty obtaining an ID, or if you have any questions about the voter ID law or the legal challenge to it, please feel free to contact the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania at 717-238-2258 You can also check out their webpage at


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