Voter ID cards will become easier to obtain

The furor over showing photo identification to vote in the Nov. 6 general election should die down, now that Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele has announced creation of an easy-to-obtain card.

The cards will be issued by the state Department of Transportation and will be available to registered voters who are not able to provide all the documents they would normally need — such as a birth certificate — to obtain photo identification from PennDOT.

The free cards will be ready by the last week of August. They can be picked up at driver’s license centers.

Citizens must bring two proofs of residence, such as a utility bill, along with their date of birth and Social Security number. The cards will be issued on the spot. They will be valid for 10 years and can only be used to vote.

“Everyone who needs ID to vote will be able to get it months before the election,” Aichele said.

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Al Schmidt, a city elections commissioner, is making four recommendations following his release last week of a 24-page report outlining voting irregularities from the April primary.

Schmidt is calling for the board of commissioners to conduct a manual review of all election-related documents after every election, followed by a report of its findings to the public; work with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to develop a better method for identifying the registrations of non-citizens; give provisional ballots to voters not included in the poll books; and assist law enforcement authorities with identifying possible cases of voter fraud.

A Republican, Schmidt detailed seven types of voting irregularities.

Here are some of his findings:

• Twenty-three people were allowed to vote, even though their names were not in the book at the polling place. One of these was a GOP voter in the 66th Ward, 28th Division in Morrell Park.

• In the 55th Ward, 29th Division, which has its polling place at 7049 Frankford Ave., six people voted in the Republican primary without signing in, or at least one person voted more than once.

• In the 6th Ward, 12th Division, in West Philadelphia, eight people were allowed to vote in the Democratic primary, even though they are registered Republican, independent or with a minor party.

• One woman, a Democrat from West Philadelphia, voted twice, once in the 4th Ward and another time in the 44th Ward.

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In an online survey conducted by the Independence Hall Tea Party Association, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was the runaway choice as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate.

Almost 400 people responded from the tri-state area.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty — who are most mentioned as likely choices — received little support in the survey.

Rubio received 151 votes, or 39 percent of the 387 votes cast. He was followed by Florida Rep. Allen West, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and a tie between New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

“Since our Tea Party PAC was the first in the nation to endorse Gov. Romney — before the Iowa Caucus in January — we not only shared the results of our survey with our membership, but also key figures in the Romney campaign,” said Teri Adams, president of the group. “We, of course, will support whomever the governor picks, but it’s clear that the selection of Rubio would generate an immense amount of enthusiasm.”

Romney was scheduled to leave on an oversea trip this week and is unlikely to name his running mate during the Summer Olympics, which end on Aug. 12. The Republican National Convention will take place from Aug. 27–30 in Tampa, Fla.

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The 22nd annual Stu Bykofsky Candidates’ Comedy Night will take place Wednesday, Aug. 22 at Finnigan’s Wake, at Third and Spring Garden streets.

The event will benefit Variety — The Children’s Charity. More than $440,000 has been raised since 1991.

Finnigan’s Wake owner Mike Driscoll will provide the third-floor banquet room for free.

Sports comedian Joe Conklin will entertain the crowd.

The show will run from 8 to 10 p.m. Doors open at 7:30.

Participants will include U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. and his Republican opponent, Tom Smith; David Freed and Kathleen Kane, the candidates for state attorney general; U.S. Rep. Bob Brady and his Republican opponent, John Featherman; Robert Mansfield, the Republican candidate in the 2nd Congressional District; U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach and his Democratic opponent, Dr. Manan Trivedi; U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan and his Democratic opponent, George Badey; U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick and his Democratic challenger, Kathy Boockvar; and U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz.

Tickets cost $75.

For more information, contact Eric Perry at 215–735–0803, Ext. 11 or ericperry@varietyphila.org ••