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.