The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

May 20, 2013

Yes and no on voter ID

Photo to be asked for, not required

MERCER COUNTY — After another “dry run” of a voter ID law under legal review, Pennsylvania voters might start chafing.

Even so, Tuesday’s primary will be the third election conducted under a hybrid of the controversial voter ID law approved last year by lawmakers and the election law it was intended to replace.

What that means is that voters will be asked by poll workers to show photo ID but they are not required to produce that or any other ID unless they are new voters or it is their first time voting at the precinct.

In that case, voters are not required to produce a photo ID, as several other forms of ID are also acceptable. They include student ID, government-issued ID, firearm permit, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or government check. Provisional ballots will be offered to those who don’t have an acceptable ID.

Mercer County Elections Director Jeff Greenburg doesn’t expect any problems locally, but he said last week that voter ID and the legal fight over its implementation has “created the most confusion.”

Poll workers and voters have been practicing following a potential new law while the old law is still being enforced for three elections, Greenburg said.

“Practice is fine,” he said, “but what if the new law is never in place? Is election day the proper forum? I’m not sure the precinct is the place to practice.”

Pennsylvania’s General Assembly approved voter ID in 2012 and questions about its implementation resulted in the first “dry run” of the new system in last year’s spring primary. The law was supposed to be in place for the November 2012 general election, but a legal challenge put it on hold, leading to a second dry run in that election.

The challenge is ongoing, with the latest appeal being heard July 15 by the state’s Commonwealth Court. Whatever that court rules, Greenburg expects the case will be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

While the in-person voting requirements of voter ID are on hold, changes the law made to absentee voting are in place. Absentee voters are now required to provide the last four digits of their Social Security number and if that information is missing or can’t be verified, Greenburg said his office will send out a notice to the absentee voters telling them they have six days to provide the missing information.

Voters who receive a notice can call the elections office to provide the information, Greenburg said.

Absentee ballots were due at the courthouse last week.

Asked to provide a prediction of voter turnout for Tuesday’s primary, Greenburg cringed and offered instead a “fair estimate” of 23 1/2 percent.

That estimate is based on turnout in the last four municipal primaries, though Greenburg said that turnout has been on the downturn since 2005.

Tuesday’s primary covers state, county, local and school board offices. Candidates who win nomination in the primary will appear on the November ballot.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Guards, county OK deal

    County officials and guards at the Mercer County Jail have reached a tentative contract agreement that, if approved, halts the idea of privatizing operations at the facility.

    July 31, 2014

  • Doss: Public has right to know

    A major part of Farrell council’s work session Monday was spent deciding whether or not to inform the audience about an unofficial police proposal from the City of Sharon.

    July 30, 2014

  • Budget falling short despite tax hike

    Farrell residents may have seen an income tax increase this year, but the city isn’t seeing the extra dollars City Manager Michael Ceci budgeted for.

    July 30, 2014

  • oakwood graves 1 Resting together

    Visitors to Oakwood Cemetery would see many  familiar local names if they looked down the hillside to the left just inside the gate on Sharon’s North Oakland Avenue.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • Police: Kids in car were OK

    The mother of two young children was drunk and passed out when police found them all in a car parked along a city street, Sharon police said.

    July 29, 2014

  • To talk – or not – about police

    The mysterious agenda item, “No. 10,” at Farrell’s council meeting Monday became the center of a heated workshop and business session.

    July 29, 2014

  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • high street trail Peaceful pathways

    History buffs and picnickers in the Shenango Valley won’t have to drive to Sharpsville to hang out at the old Erie Canal extension lock. They’ll soon have the option to walk or roll in on bicycles and even powered chairs to visit Canal Park near the outflow of Shenango Dam.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • balloonquest1 Balloon Quest celebrates 25 years

    Today is the final day of the 25th annual Western Pennsylvania Balloon Quest at Scotland Meadows Park.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • News briefs from July 26, 2014

    Man faces bomb threat charges

    June building tops $4 million in Hermitage

    July 26, 2014

  • Elderly man survives plane crash

    An elderly man survived wrecking his plane into a bank, then landing into a wetland, about 200 feet south of Runway 28 at Grove City Regional Airport in Springfield Township on Friday.

    July 26, 2014