Pennsylvania’s strict new voter ID requirement is likely to prevent many college students from using their school IDs to cast a ballot in the November general election. Gov. Tom Corbett signed the bill into law last week despite failing to offer a single example of voter fraud and the opposition of county commissioners who administer Pennsylvania’s elections.
Starting with the November election, voters will be required to present one of the following types of photo IDs in order to cast a regular ballot:
- Photo ID cards from an accredited public or private Pennsylvania college or university (not expired)
- Photo IDs issued by the U.S. Federal Government or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania driver’s license or non-driver’s license photo ID (IDs are valid for voting purposes 12 months past expiration date)
- Valid U.S. passport (not expired)
- U.S. military ID - active duty and retired military (a military or veteran’s ID must designate an expiration date or designate that the expiration date is indefinite). Military dependents’ ID must contain an expiration date.
- Employee photo ID issued by Federal, PA, County or Municipal government (not expired)
- Photo ID cards issued by a Pennsylvania care facility, including long-term care facilities, assisted living residences or personal care homes (not expired)
Although student IDs from public and private Pennsylvania colleges and universities are acceptable at the polls, the law requires an ID to display an expiration date demonstrating that it is still valid. Schools such as Penn State, Point Park, Drexel, and LaSalle use student IDs that lack an expiration date. Penn State removed the expiration date from IDs in 2004 because the date does not accurately reflect students who withdraw or the amount of time they are enrolled.
An expiration date on a college ID provides no assistance to a poll worker who is merely using the ID to determine whether the person presenting it is the voter whose name is on the voter rolls. Nonetheless, an unnecessary expiration date requirement in an unnecessary photo ID law could make it more difficult for thousands of Pennsylvania college students who attend schools that do not provide a student ID with an expiration date.
Click here for more information on voter ID requirements.