While Pennsylvania's new voter ID law is still being tossed about in the courts (Judge Robert Simpson has scheduled a hearing for Tuesday, Sept. 25, 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 so long as it contains the student's name, photo and a current expiration date. While most colleges and university's 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.
The Voter ID law allows for those institutions to come into compliance by adding an expiration sticker to the ID, but while many institutions are doing just that, some aren't making enough of an effort, according to PennPIRG.
The group recently released a survey conducted by a coalition group including itself, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Advancement Project, Campus Compact, the Committee of Seventy, Common Cause, the Fair Elections Legal Network (FELN), the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Rock the Vote listing the institutions with and without compliant IDs.
PennPIRG report compiled in April noted that only about 15 of the 110 colleges surveyed back in April had compliant IDs, but since that time 90% of the 156 schools contacted for this most recent survey had compliant IDs.
According to the survey, Gwynedd Mercy College and Bucks County Community College are two of the only local schools who reported no plans to provide expiration dates on IDs, while Harcum, Rosemont and Chestnut Hill colleges gave inconsistent information or did not provide an explicit answer.
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 over a year now and 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," said Greenberg, in an email to Patch.
Efforts to reach representatives of Gwynedd Mercy College for comment were unsuccessful.
PennPIRG, who claims that over 28,000 students may still be in danger of being turned away at the polls, is urging colleges and universities who are still not offering 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-comliant institutions in our PDF section.
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