After months of wrangling, grandstanding and legal maneuvering over Pennsylvania’s controversial voter-ID law — which Republican state Rep. Mike Turzai infamously declared “is going to allow Gov. [Mitt] Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania” — you might well be confused about what, exactly, to expect at the polls on Election Day.
“There’s not mandatory training for poll workers except once in their career, so that means that there’s a decent chance that some poll workers will be asking for the wrong thing and will be confused — and certainly the voters will be confused,” says Zack Stalberg of the watchdog group Committee of Seventy. “That’s why we’re going to have 500 to 1,000 people out on the street on Election Day, to try to eliminate that confusion before the voter ever gets inside the polling place.”
Despite ongoing advertising that seems to imply the contrary, you do not — repeat: do not — need photo identification to vote. That doesn’t mean poll workers won’t ask you for it, though: In fact, they’re required to do so. And, if you’re a first-time voter in your voting division, identification will be required: Bring a Pennsylvania-issued ID, U.S. passport, armed-forces ID or student/employee ID card — or bring a non-photo ID, like a current utility bill.
VOTING HOURS: Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
FIND YOUR POLLING PLACE: Voters with questions about almost anything election-related can call Seventy’s hotline, 866-OUR-VOTE, or check seventy.org for more information. The official source of information for Philly voters is the City Commissioners Office, online at phillyelection.com or by phone at 215-686-3460 (the office of Chairwoman Stephanie Singer). The statewide website, which also offers voter-information lookup, is votespa.com. If you think your polling place has moved, calling Seventy’s hotline may be your best bet for up-to-date information.
CHECK IF YOU’RE REGISTERED: You can search your voter-registration status via the state website, pavoterservices.state.pa.us. You can also call the City Commissioners to confirm.
ON THE BALLOT: In addition to the candidates, the city of Philadelphia has four ballot questions. Seventy has a guide on their website with details. Take special note of question No. 2, which would let City Council demand more information from the administration on its annual budget requests. Support could be a boost to transparency in the spending of tax dollars.
IN CASE OF CONFLICT: The Central Election Court deals with all Election Day law violations and legal controversies. It’s at City Hall, Room 285, and is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Nov. 6. The phone number is 215-686-7357.
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