Universities make changes to help students vote in Pa.

Southeastern Pennsylvania universities have taken steps to ensure their students can vote by changing student IDs to comply with the requirements of the state’s voter ID law.

 

Since a Pennsylvania judge upheld the controversial law, it looks increasingly like voters will have to present photo identification to vote in November. Challengers of the law had argued that the law would disenfranchise the elderly, minorities and student voters — who are less likely to have the most commonly used form of state IDs.

As of this spring, PennPIRG reported only 15 of 110 universities provided photo ID that show the holder is a current student. That’s a requirement for student identification used as voter ID.

“We have a long history of encouraging civic engagement on part of students,” says Steve Curtis, president of the Community College of Philadelphia. He says all new students will receive IDs with expiration dates.

“We’re not going to automatically redo every old ID because there are tens of thousands out there right now,” he said. “However, we are going to make it public that any student who wants to exchange the ID that they have for one that does have the date, we’re happy to do it and there’ll be no charge.”

The Community College of Philadelphia is the latest school that has decided to make voting-eligible IDs available to students.

Together with universities whose IDs already met the requirements, they join a list that now includes Villanova, Lafayette, Temple, Drexel, the University of Pennsylvania and smaller schools such as Cabrini and Bryn Mawr colleges.

All 14 schools in the state system have committed to make changes.

However, some community college IDs, such as Bucks County’s, don’t have photographs at all. The school is considering changes, but Barbara Yetman, the vice president for student affairs, say they can’t be sure they’ll be in place by election day.

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