While Pennsylvania's new voter ID law is still being tossed about in the courts (Judge Robert Simpson has scheduled a hearing today in response to a state Supreme Court ruling last week), community activists, agencies and even local governments are scrambling to make sure registered voters have the necessary ID.
One of those approved forms of photo ID is a current student ID from an accredited state public or private institution of higher learning as long as it contains the student's name, photo and a current expiration date. While most colleges and universities issue student IDs, not all are in compliance with the new law. According to PennPIRG, a state consumer advocacy group, the most common missing element is an expiration date.
Bucks County Community College students cannot use their existing school IDs at the polls because it does not feature a photo or expiration date. However, the college this week announced it would offer current students valid photo IDs that can be used at the polls. Click here for details.
PennPIRG recently released a survey listing the institutions with and without compliant IDs. The PennPIRG report found that only about 15 of the 110 colleges surveyed back in April had compliant IDs. Since that time, 90 percent of the 156 schools contacted for this most recent survey had compliant IDs.
The Voter ID law allows institutions to come into compliance by adding an expiration sticker to a photo ID.
According to the PennPIRG survey, Montgomery County Community College (MCCC), Ursinus and Cabrini colleges all report having compliant IDs or plans to distribute expiration date stickers. Temple University recently replaced their old student IDs with new, compliant "OWL" cards.
MCCC Director of Communications Alana Mauger told Patch the community college has had the valid IDs for more than a year. Ursinus College Director of Communications Wendy Greenberg said that Ursinus has a system in place for students who wish to make their IDs compliant.
"Students who wish to vote in the 2012 PA election may bring their ID to the Technical Support Department and have a dated sticker placed on it to validate it for the polls," Greenberg said.
PennPIRG, which believes that more than 28,000 students may still be in danger of being turned away at the polls, is urging colleges and universities that don't offer a complaint ID to make the effort on behalf of their students.
"It's imperative these schools engage as many students as possible to ensure wide democratic participation," said PennPIRG's Angela Lee.
You can find the report with the full list of compliant and non-compliant institutions in our PDF section.
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