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Pennsylvania Colleges Work to Make Student IDs Sufficient to Vote

PHILADELPHIA – Colleges in Pennsylvania are working to ensure students can use campus identification cards to cast ballots in the fall election, even as a judge weighs whether to toss the state’s controversial new voting law.


The tougher regulations require voters to show an approved photo ID with an expiration date beginning with the Nov. 6 presidential contest.


In many cases, students may already have a driver’s license that meets the standard. But for those who don’t, some colleges are issuing new ID cards with expiration dates. Others are offering stickers with expiration dates to put on existing IDs.


The efforts come as opponents sue to block the 5-month-old law, claiming it is unconstitutional and will disenfranchise about 1 million state residents. Supporters say it’s needed to prevent voting fraud.


Lawyers presented closing arguments in the case on Thursday. The judge is expected to rule this month.


Incoming freshman and transfer students at Pennsylvania’s 14-state owned universities will receive new IDs with expiration dates, system spokesman Kenn Marshall said Thursday.


Returning students, who generally keep their freshman-year IDs throughout their college careers, can get stickers with expiration dates for their existing cards, Marshall said.


Overall, about 120,000 students carry state university IDs, which are electronic and also provide access to campus facilities.


“To replace them en masse would be rather expensive,” Marshall said.


Officials at Temple University, a state-related school in Philadelphia, had already planned to issue new IDs this year to keep up with new technology and security features, said spokeswoman Eryn Jelesiewicz. The IDs will now feature expiration dates to comply with the law, she said.


Bryn Mawr College had also previously planned to update its cards this year and will add expiration dates, spokesman Matt Gray said.


The private, elite women’s school near Philadelphia also created a voting website to help students navigate their various voting options, since many come from outside Pennsylvania and may vote absentee in their home states.


Officials at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pennsylvania said their student ID cards already carry expiration dates.

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