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April 25, 2012
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

SRU student IDs meet voter law                 


SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. – Slippery Rock University’s ID Office is leading the way among Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education universities to ensure new SRU students are prepared with proper identification when they go to the election polls next fall.

           “We are among the first universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to add an expiration date to the student photo-ID,” said Beverly Lumley, informational technology generalist in charge of SRU’s ID Card Office. The addition of an “expiration date” to the cards brings them into compliance with Pennsylvania’s new election ID laws.

           A number of other PASSHE universities are considering what actions to take regarding student IDs.

           Pennsylvania law requires all voters to show a photo ID that includes an expiration date beginning with November’s general election. Those going to polling locations before November are being encouraged, but not required, to begin bringing appropriate photo IDs in preparation for the general election in what is being called a “soft rollout” of the new law.

           “There is no need for students who already have their ID to obtain a new one, but all new student ID cards issued by our office will automatically include the expiration date information,” Lumley said. The expiration date is the student’s anticipated graduation date. The ID cards will remain valid on campus after the stated “expiration date,” should the student continue to be enrolled, she said.

           SRU faculty and staff ID cards will not include an expiration date, Lumley said, “Because there is no expected expiration date for employees.” Faculty and staff will not be able to use their SRU-ID as a form of identification at election stations.

In addition to the appropriate student college/university photo ID, voters may show a Pennsylvania driver's license or another type of photo ID such as a passport with the required expiration date. Also acceptable are a photo ID that has been expired for under a year, federal- or state government-issued IDs, driver's license or non-driver's license photo ID, including those  one year past their expiration date; a U.S. military ID (active or retired); federal, state, county or municipal employee ID; or an ID from a personal care facility. All IDs must include an expiration date.

First-time voters have always been required to produce identification.

Opponents of the law, which was signed by Gov. Tom Corbett in March, have threatened lawsuits and point to the added costs, especially for those who will first have to obtain a birth certificate before purchasing a state-issued ID card.

Pennsylvania is the 16th state to approve a photo-ID voting requirement. Lawmakers have said the law protects voter rights. Others claim the law is punitive to the poor and elderly and say such laws are designed to disenfranchise would-be voters.

There are some state-funded programs in place to help with costs of obtaining a photo ID.

One of those programs allow for expired driver’s licenses dating to 1990, to be used to obtain a free non-driver’s photo-ID without a birth certificate for voting purposes.