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Pa. Officials Urge Nursing Homes To Provide Residents With Voter ID Cards

By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare sent out a notice earlier this month reminding personal care home operators to help residents who need IDs under the Commonwealth's new voter ID law.

Under the new law, a photo ID from any of Pennsylvania's personal care or long-term care facilities is acceptable at the polls as long as it has an expiration date.

"We're just trying to make sure that everyone has the right to vote," says welfare department spokeswoman Carey Miller.  She says that although these facilities are not required to generate IDs for their clients, they are required by law -- 55 Pa Code 2600.23(b) -- to help residents with their needs.

"When a resident of a personal care home has a request -- and that request could be asking the operator for transportation to go to a doctor's office -- it's required that the operator ensure that those requests are being met.   So if they ask, 'I'd like to have a photo ID,' the personal care operator can assist them with obtaining that," she says.

See the Special Report:  "Pennsylvania's New Voter ID Law"

Brian Levesque, the personal care administrator for Deer Meadows Facility in Philadelphia, says they've been providing photo IDs to residents since April for those who request them, for a nominal fee.

"Less than $10," he says.  "We want to make sure that we do everything possible to promote the residents' right to vote. And we thought this would make it easier."

According to a recent report by the Department of Public Welfare, nearly 50,000 people live in Pennsylvania's personal care home facilities.

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