Pennsylvania’s voter ID law requires that photo identification presented at the polls must have an expiration date. Like every aspect of the new law, that provision has become controversial, with opponents arguing it could disenfranchise college students.
The ACLU of Pennsylvania has been receiving calls from voters who don’t have photo ID, says legal director Vic Walczak. He’s more worried about people who don’t read the law’s small print.
“The bigger problem is for the people who look and say, ‘Oh. Well, I have a university ID from Temple so I’m not going to have a problem.’ And it’s not until they show up on Election Day and the poll worker says, ‘We’re sorry, this is not acceptable because it doesn’t have an expiration date’ [that they realize there is a problem].”
The University of Pennsylvania issues IDs with expiration dates. Penn State, Drexel and Temple University currently do not. Temple spokeswoman Eryn Jelesiewicz says that’s because students take varying amounts of time to finish their programs. Half of Temple students are transfers and adult students often pursue their degree part time.
“With this new law going into effect, we will look at what the options might be,” Jelesiewicz says.
Those turned away at the polls can cast provisional votes, which will be counted if they can come back with a driver’s license or other photo ID within six days.
“We’re going to have an education campaign launched by the department of state in which they are planning on contacting every voting household.” says bill sponsor Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler.
“If someone’s a registered voter in Pennsylvania, they should be provided information through the mail,” he said. “There will also be other avenues, which are used to provide the information.”
Photo ID will be asked for but not required in the April primary. It will be required to vote in November.