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Politics & Government

Will Poll Workers Be Ready To Enforce Voter ID?

A state employee and a county elections director are at odds over the ease with which the state's new Voter ID law can be enforced at the polls in November. The two testified in Commonwealth Court today at the hearing on a suit looking to block the law.

Department of State employee Shannon Royer said all poll workers will receive information in the mail on the new photo identification requirement at the polls. He said the state expects those workers on the front lines during elections will also receive training from the counties.

But attorneys arguing against the law point out it's not absolutely mandatory that poll workers go to the training session during which they'd be briefed on the new requirement.

Allegheny County Elections Director Mark Wolosik said some poll
workers will be left to interpret on their own parts of the law that haven't come with strict guidance from the state. Wolosik says in the past, comparing the voter's signature against past records was
an adequate way to scrutinize someone's identity. He says he himself was stopped by an election judge for having a questionable signature and that was while he was the Elections Director. He resolved the issue by showing his driver's license.

Wolosik also told the court that his office is bracing for long lines November 6 due to the Voter ID law. He said turnout is already high in general elections, as much as 70 percent.

Numbers from the state show as many as 100-thousand people in Allegheny County won't have photo ID needed to vote this fall. Wolosik says even based on the most conservative estimates, as many as 35-thousand people might have to cast provisional ballots because they'll be without ID at the polls. He says verifying and tallying those ballots will be an involved and lengthy process.