Petition Closed
Petitioning Dean of the Students, Bucknell University Jennifer N. Albright and 8 others
1 response

Pennsylvania Universities: Allow Students to Vote


Since 2006, I have attended Pennsylvania schools for my undergraduate studies and law school. I have paid more than $112,000 in tuition. I have worked three separate jobs, and paid state taxes on every paycheck. I have worked for a state representative, been active in my community and plan to practice law in Philadelphia upon graduation.

Despite these factors, if the election were tomorrow, I would not be able to vote because I dont have the right ID.

The problem is that while a new PA law allows student IDs for voting purposes, it requires that school issued IDs bear an expiration date to be valid. Unfortunately, many colleges and graduate schools do not include expiration dates on their IDs, thereby making the exception for student IDs meaningless for thousands of students such as myself. This November, students will find new hurdles to voting. No doubt many will be unaware of the change in the law and have no idea that student IDs without an expiration do not meet the new state requirements to vote.

That is why I am calling on all Pennsylvania institutions of higher learning to update or change their student IDs to comply with state voting ID requirements.

Pennsylvania is known nationwide for its reputation as home to some of the country’s best institutions for higher education. Students play an intricate role in promoting the economic and social growth of the state. Besides paying millions of dollars to Pennsylvania institutions, students live, work and pay various state and local taxes that help contribute to the economy. Equally important, students greatly enhance the intellectual capital of the community.

Throughout our education we have been instilled with the idea that voting is the building block of our democracy, which should not be squandered or taken lightly. Young adults have been widely criticized for not participating in the political process, but now, due to no fault of our own, are facing unprecedented hurdles that hinder student voting and discourage political participation.

All Pennsylvania colleges and universities should reissue student IDs that have an expiration date.  Pennsylvania is a swing state that will play a pivotal role in the November election. Whether Democrat or Republican all students deserve to have their voices heard in this crucial election.

Letter to
Dean of the Students, Bucknell University Jennifer N. Albright
Dean of the College, Gettysburg College Dr. Julia Ramsey
Dean of the College, Haverford College Martha Denney
and 6 others
Dean of the Students, La Salle University James Moore
Dean of the College,Lafayette College Hannah W. Stewart- Gambino
Dean of the College, Lincoln University Dr. Jacqueline Gibson
Pennsylvania Universities
Dean of the College, Allegheny College Linda DeMeritt
Dean of the College, Dickinson College Neil B. Weissman
I just signed the following petition addressed to: All Pennsylvanian Universities.

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Allow Students to Vote


I am a registered Pennsylvania voter. I have lived and voted in the state for six years. However, if the 2012 presidential election were held today, I would be denied my right to vote. Since 2006, I have attended Pennsylvania schools for my undergraduate studies and law school. I have paid more than $112,000 in tuition thus far. I have worked three separate jobs, paid state taxes on every paycheck and lived in four separate apartments throughout Philadelphia. I have worked for a state representative, been active in my community and plan to practice law in Philadelphia upon graduation. Despite these factors, I don’t have the right ID to vote.
That is why I am calling on all Pennsylvania institutions of higher learning to update or change their student IDs to comply with state voting ID requirements.

The new Pennsylvania voter ID laws signed by Governor Corbett in March of this year require that voters possess a government issued form of photo identification in order to vote. While carrying a photo ID is routine to many, it is estimated that 758,000 registered Pennsylvania voters do not possess the proper ID to vote in this upcoming election. A closer examination of the statutory language and details of the photo ID requirement shows that it in its application it will only serve to disenfranchise a large number of our some of our most vulnerable and marginalized voters.

One voting segment that is adversely affected by the law, which has gained less attention, is our student population. The Legislature purported to address this issue when it specifically included student IDs as an accepted form of identification. The problem is that the law requires that school issued IDs bear an expiration date to be valid. Unfortunately, many colleges and graduate schools do not include expiration dates on their IDs, thereby making the exception for student IDs meaningless for potentially thousands of students such as myself.

In 2008, voter turnout for 18- to-24-year-olds rose dramatically and played a key role in shaping the election. This November, students looking to continue this trend will find new hurdles. No doubt many will be unaware of the change in the law and have no idea that student IDs without an expiration do not meet the new state requirements to vote. In addition, the students who are aware of the changes may have extenuating circumstance that make it very difficult to obtain a qualifying state issued ID. A major obstacle student may face is having a Photo ID that reflects their current address. Many students, like myself, have moved many times during educational experience. While the voter ID laws require that information of a voter’s photo ID’s strictly match information found voter registration forms, students with old ID’s that do not match their current address may not be able to vote.

Pennsylvania is known nationwide for its reputation as home to some of the country’s best institutions for higher education. Students play an intricate role in promoting the economic and social growth of the state. Besides paying millions of dollars to Pennsylvania institutions, students live, work and pay various state and local taxes that help contribute to the economy. Equally important, students greatly enhance the intellectual capital of the community.

Throughout our education we have been instilled with the idea that voting is the building block of our democracy, which should not be squandered or taken lightly. Young adults have been widely criticized for not participating in the political process, but now, due to no fault of our own, are facing unprecedented hurdles that hinder student voting and discourage political participation.

While there are many flaws in the new voter ID laws, there is an easy remedy to ensure that students are able to vote in the upcoming election: all Pennsylvania colleges and universities should reissue student IDs that have an expiration date. Pennsylvania is a swing state that will play a pivotal role in the November election. Whether Democrat or Republican all students deserve to have their voices heard in this crucial election.
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Sincerely,