Veteran ID Card Update

Posted: March 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

A controversial proposal requiring all Pennsylvania voters to show certain photo identification at their polling places could make it more difficult for many disabled veterans to cast ballots. The legislation being debated by the state House would not permit disabled veterans to use photo ID cards issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that are not stamped with an expiration date. Republicans who support the voter ID measure say the intention of the bill is to crack down on voter fraud, and they say requiring voters to produce a recent photo of themselves is crucial to the effort. But critics say the legislation is a slap in the face to Americans who served their country and are merely seeking to exercise their civic duty. "For me, it's the principle of the matter. … You know what they went through to get that ID? I don't think most people do," said Gary Schreckengost, a retired U.S. Army infantry major in the Army Reserve and veteran of wars in Bosnia and Iraq. "For them to flippantly say, 'Oh, they can go get a driver's license' — you don't understand all the bureaucratic crap they've already gone through," said Schreckengost, who alerted local lawmakers to the issue. Ron Ruman, a spokesman for the Department of State, the agency that oversees election in Pennsylvania, said the bill would indeed require voters to show an ID that has an expiration date. IDs without an expiration date would not be accepted. "The Legislature can amend this when it wants to. In the meantime, those folks could apply for a nondriver's license photo ID," he said. "They've got to get to the driver's license center, but that's a one-time thing that's good for four years." State Rep. Scott Boyd, a Republican from West Lampeter Township, said the form of ID in question is a VA medical benefits card, which includes a photograph but no expiration date because the benefits are for life. He confirmed that the voter ID legislation under consideration now would not allow those cards to be used at polling places. He said he will work to revise the law if it passes and is signed by the governor. [Source: Tom Murse article 12 Mar 2012 ++]


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