Betty Hooker, a volunteer with the American Association of University Women, helps Penn State York student Joe Lombardi, 23, with his voter registration
Betty Hooker, a volunteer with the American Association of University Women, helps Penn State York student Joe Lombardi, 23, with his voter registration form Thursday. The nonpartisan effort has helped more than 40 students register in the last two weeks. (John A. Pavoncello)

Only four Department of State voter identification cards have been issued in York County, despite a state analysis identifying about 19,000 voters in York County who don't have a driver's license or state ID.

Those are two forms of voter identification accepted under a new law that takes effect in November's general election; the Department of State voter ID card is an alternative.

But the rush for identification that some people had expected "just hasn't happened," said Jan McKnight, a spokeswoman for PennDOT, which issues the cards.

"The numbers you see are telling the truth," she said, adding that many of the people who don't have a driver's license or state ID might

have another form of identification acceptable for voting purposes.

PennDOT has issued 923 of the cards -- which can only be used for voting -- statewide since launching the program Aug. 27, she said.

While only four of the voting-only IDs were issued in York, PennDOT has issued 139 of the secure Pennsylvania "non-driver's license" ID cards. However, the state typically issues about 1 million of those IDs -- acceptable for legal purposes beyond voting -- per year, McKnight said.

It's not clear how many people intend to use the "non-driver's license" ID cards for voting, she said.

Getting the word out: As the election draws near, state-sponsored mailers are hitting mailboxes to notify residents of the change. Party officials and community groups are raising awareness through forums and phone calls.


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Both colleges in York have modified this year's student identification cards to include expiration dates, which must be on the cards in order to use them for voting.

Penn State York spokeswoman Barbara Dennis said students who have old cards without expiration dates and don't have any other acceptable identification will receive expiration date stickers for their cards. A similar effort is being undertaken by York College, said Mary Dolheimer, assistant dean in the college's Office of Communications.

Dennis said she isn't sure how many students will rely on their student IDs for voting, but the new procedure should ensure they can vote.

Tuesday meeting: The York Branch of the NAACP is trying to inform the public about the new law, holding a forum from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday to air concerns and educate, said president Sandra Thompson.

She said she's not surprised only four voting-only identification cards were issued, because she thinks most people would rather get the non-driver's license because it can be used other places.

"If you're saying I have to go through all this trouble just to get a vote-only ID, that's discouraging," she said.

The public event, held at Crispus Attucks Community Center at 605 S. Duke St., includes a panel of officials from Penn DOT, the NAACP, and the non-partisan government accountability organization Common Cause of PA.

Mike Crochunis, community relations coordinator at PennDOT, said he'll answer any questions people have about how to obtain the necessary identification.

Thompson said people can also register to vote at the forum, she said.

Acceptable identification:

Several forms of photo ID will be accepted at the polls, including:

---Pennsylvania driver's license or a PennDOT non-driver's license (these IDs are valid for voting purposes 12 months past their expiration date)

---Valid U.S. passport

---U.S. military ID -- active duty and retired

---Employee photo ID issued by federal, state, county or municipal government

---Photo ID from an accredited public or private Pennsylvania college or university

---Photo ID issued by a Pennsylvania care facility, including long-term care facilities, assisted living residences or personal care homes

Registered voters who do not have one of these IDs may get an ID free of charge at a PennDOT Driver License Center. Voters will need a birth certificate and two proofs of residency, such as a utility bill, tax records, mortgage documents, W-2 form or lease agreement.

For more information about the new law, visit www.VotesPA.com or call 1-877-VotesPA.

-- Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.