ID law confuses voters

Although the implementation of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law may have ground to halt, many voters arrived at polling stations confused on Tuesday, unsure if they would be required to show ID to vote.

Brian Rocks, ‘13, hastily pulled out his college photo ID when he saw others ahead of him in line at First Christian Church had theirs ready.

“They didn’t ask for it, but I handed it to them,” Rocks said. “I was actually kind of worried, because my ID is one of the older ones without the expiration date on it. But that didn’t seem to be a problem.”

Another student, Charlie Scott, ‘17, proffered his college ID to get out of line faster.

“I just showed them my ID to speed up the process a little bit. Nobody asked me, though. I volunteered to do it. It was fairly straightforward,” Scott said. “I can imagine why that a lot of people would be confused into showing their ID, not knowing that the law has been delayed.”

Crawford County Commissioner Jack Lynch said the confusion stemmed from voting guideline packets sent to each Pennsylvania precinct from county election officials, which contained green pamphlets incorrectly stating voters must present ID at the polls.

Crawford County was not the only place where voters and pollsters alike were perplexed.

“We’re getting anecdotally reports from across the state that’s it’s universal, that there’s confusion across the state, and it’s not germane to one county,” Lynch said. “That is extremely unfortunate during such an important election. That’s all I have to say. You don’t need any kind of doubt.”

Lynch expects the law will be implemented in later elections to clear up the confusion.

“If there’s any good to be had of this, there’s an awareness that’s an expectation that will be the law down the line,” said Lynch, “but this time it was not.”

Part of the confusion stemmed from inconsistent posting of signs explaining that IDs must be presented in order to vote.

“New state laws require all voters who appear to vote in a precinct to provide officials with proof of identification,” the notice read.

The sign angered several voters, said poll watcher John Hartner.

“There’s been lots of complaints. Earlier on, we had some signs that offended people,” Hartner said. “A lot of people have taken issue just to judges using their IDs to match their names and get their names right, which is just easier for them.”

Voters who opposed the law reacted most strongly, Hartner recalled.

“They were generally Democrats. The kids earlier were willing to raise a fuss, but the older people occasionally took pretty adverse attitude to it,” he said.

At Wesbury Barco Chapel, the green pamphlet remained taped to the doorway, despite its inaccuracy.
Judge Jane Smith, however, explained that information regarding provisional ballots and complaints was correct, and so the pollsters left it up.

“No one wants to disenfranchise anyone,” Smith said. “We bend over backwards to make sure everyone has a chance to vote.”

Some poll watchers chased after voters to ensure every vote was counted.

“Girls! Come back!” Minority Inspector Barabara McClimans called as she pushed through the long voting line in pursuit of a vehicle wheeling out of First Christian Church’s parking lot. “You forgot to confirm your vote!”