UPDATE: Representatives from both DeSales University and Penn State-Lehigh Valley state that students do have options to make their student ID voter ID-compliant.
From DeSales University: "The standard-issue DeSales University ID card does not currently include a printed expiration date. However, if a student wants to use his or her DeSales University ID card for the upcoming election, DeSales will provide a compliant version — which includes a printed expiration date — free of charge."
From Penn State-Lehigh Valley: "Penn State Lehigh Valley ID's do not currently have an expiration date but we have stickers that we will put on current student ID's. A campus employee has been designated to validate that an ID holder is a current student and then she affixes the sticker to the ID card. So it's as easy as a current student dropping by our student affairs office to have this done."
While Pennsylvania's new voter ID law is still being tossed about in the courts (Commonwealth Court 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 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. And one of the school's with an expiration date on its IDs is DeSales University in Upper Saucon.
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 that lists the institutions with and without compliant IDs.
PennPIRG's report, compiled in April, noted that only about 15 of the 110 colleges surveyed then had compliant IDs, but since that time 90 percent of the 156 schools contacted for this most recent survey had compliant IDs.
According to the survey, DeSales is one of several local institutions that doesn't currently have expiration dates on its ID cards. The list also included Lehigh Carbon Community College, Northampton Community College, Lafayette College, Moravian College, Cedar Crest College and Muhlenberg College.
Though several Penn State schools were named as non-compliant, Penn State-Lehigh Valley was not on the list. Attempts to reach the school were unsuccessful.
Lehigh University is one of only 15 colleges statewide that include an expiration date on its student ID.
PennPIRG, which claims that over 28,000 students may still be in danger of being turned away at the polls, is urging colleges and universities that 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-compliant institutions in our PDF section.
- Pa. Voter ID Ruling Puts Burden on Commonwealth
- Pa. Voter ID Sent Back to Lower Court
- ID Process Streamlined At PennDOT Offices
- Voter ID Case Goes to Pa. Supreme Court Today