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Voter ID Law, Notarizations Put On Hold

voter-id1UPDATE: Thirty states now require voters to present some form of identification at the polls, but a Pennsylvania judge has blocked the state's controversial voter-identification law from taking effect in time for the November election. The law could still take effect at a later date, or face a renewed challenge by opponents to block it completely.

Pennsylvania’s law would have required voters to present an official photograph ID such as a driver’s license, passport, ID card from a private or public university, or identification issued by a state care facility. But the law would permit people to use state-issued non-photo IDs if they have strong religious objections to having their picture taken.

That provision would accommodate the state’s estimated 61,000 Amish and Mennonite residents. In order to obtain a non-photo ID, individuals are required to submit a notarized “Affidavit in Support of Exemption for Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs.”

Other state residents who lack an ID have the option to obtain a photo voter ID card at no charge from PennDOT by submitting an “Affirmation that Voter Does Not Possess Proof of Identification for voting Purposes” and meeting other requirements. This form does not need to be notarized.

If put into effect, Pennsylvania’s law would be among the strictest of 31 voter-ID measures in place around the United States.

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