After voting in every election for the past 50 years with the exception of when he was in Korea fight for the United States military my father now has to prove who he is before he can vote. A lot of people on both sides of the political spectrum see no problem with voter ID laws and assume that getting one is simple so I thought it would be fun to chronicle our quest to get him a photo ID to vote in Pennsylvania..
Background - He is currently in his mid 70’s and has never had the urge to drive or need a drivers license. My parents bought and moved into their first home in 2002 and in the process lost some information like their social security cards, birth certificates etc. It was simple for my mother to get new ones as she had a drivers license but my father having been retired with no use for a photo ID didn’t replace the lost items. Around 2005 he went into hospital for “routine” surgery and ended up disabled and in a wheel chair, after this my mother got power of attorney and had all the bills just put in her name.
Now - law is passed in Pennsylvania you need a current photo ID to vote so we go on the quest to get the required documents for his so he can vote.
Social Security card - You need a birth certificate and proof of identity that includes a drivers license, passport, even a health care card but NOT Medicare. So we need a photo ID to get a social security card but need a social security card to get a photo ID. While it doesn’t effect him you are only allowed 10 replacement cards in your lifetime so people who have reached that limit will not be able to get another one. They accepted certified medical records from the past 2 years for one of these after several failed attempts we finally got a new Social Security card.
Birth Certificate - This was a tough one as the court house were the records where stored was destroyed in a flood. We have someone we know trying to help us get a new one of these and the Department of Ageing is helping on this also.
Photo ID - since we don’t have a birth certificate we are unable to get one at this time. When/If we get the above we are left with one last problem and that is proof of residence since the bills are all in my mothers name my father has nothing that shows his name and current address he can use. I am working with someone on this who is trying to get me temporary power of attorney so I can have him put on our bank account and on the mortgage so he will have 2 pieces of appropriate mail with his name and current address on them.
I have less then 60 days to get this all done and as a last resort have a final option - I can get him a passport but it will cost 135.00 to get one before the election. I have found a photo ID for him that expired over 15 years ago and since the lady working at the post office knows him and his current address they can use the info they have to get him a passport.
The final hurdle if I get all that done is getting him all the way to the DMV to get his photo ID. I don’t drive (never have) and it’s almost ½ hour away and we are not counting on my mother ever being able to drive again when she gets out of the hospital.
It’s a shame when someone has served their country in what I consider War Time (but the VA doesn’t - they call Korea a police action) , worked and paid taxes for over 40 years and now they have to jump through hoops just to do something that they have fought and in some people cases died for. Voting should be a right especially to the great men and women who built this country. I only hope your state doesn’t pass these laws and suppress the vote of anyone you love and care about, there is no worse feeling then giving your life to the country only to have them tell you - you’re opinion doesn’t count.