Volunteers will be available on three upcoming dates at the Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community to help people to register, to update their existing registration, or to get up-to-date information on voter I.D. requirements in time for the upcoming presidential election.
The dates and times are Sunday, September 23 from 12:30-2p.m.; Tuesday, September 25 from 5:30-6:30pm; and Thursday, Sept. 27 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. A free meal will also be served at all three events.
Even if someone is already registered to vote, there are a few reasons why they may need or want to update their registration. Because of the new voter I.D. law, the name as it appears on their voter registration must "substantially conform" to their name as it appears on your photo I.D.
Everyone should update their registration if there are any differences. For example, a photo I.D. might include a middle name or initial while the voter registration leaves it out or they may have registered to vote using a birth name but your photo I.D. uses a married name.
In cases like these they need to update their voter registration to match their photo I.D. Also, if someone have moved to a new home since they've registered they should update their address. Finally, the voter registration form can be used to change a party affiliation if the voter would like to do so.
The church is also hoping to help register homeless voters.
"Even without a permanent address it is fairly easy to register to vote in Pennsylvania," said director of ministries Mike Holohan. "On the form there is a map where you can indicate where you spend most of your time and they'll assign you to a polling place based on that. And we'll help set people up with a mailing address where voter registration cards can be picked up."
Obtaining a free photo I.D. is much more difficult for the homeless.
"The free I.D.s require proofs of residency like utility bills and leases. The only alternative is for folks living at a shelter where a shelter employee is willing to go with them to the PennDOT center to confirm their identities. Otherwise, they're out of luck getting a free I.D. But we'll do our best to help someone get a proper I.D. if they don't have one," Mr. Holohan said.
The deadline to register for this year's presidential election is October 9.
The church can be reached at 412-481-4010, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the web at www.hotmetalbridge.com.