HARRISBURG–Last Monday, The Pennsylvania State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People met with the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, PASSHE, on issuing student IDs that are compliant with new voter identification regulations.
In April 2012, the Pennsylvania legislature passed House Bill 934, mandating that voters at elections show photo identification with expiration dates. The new law includes student identification.
Out of 110 schools surveyed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly only 15 schools printed identification cards with expiration dates. Currently, only three out of the 25 largest schools in Pennsylvania issue IDs that have expiration dates. No student ID issued from the PASSHE 14 school system complies with new voter identification regulations, potentially affecting the voting rights of 120,000 students who may rely on their student ID to establish residency.
“We are pleased that PASSHE Chancellor John C. Cavanaugh respects the student vote and sees the importance in ensuring student IDs conform to the new voter identification laws,” said NAACP Pennsylvania State Conference President Jerry Mondesire. “Now, in coordination with the NAACP Youth and College Division and additional partners, our task is to ensure that all Pennsylvania schools work to provide students with IDs that are compliant with new voter ID laws.”
Cheyney’s NAACP chapter and similar college groups ran voter drives in 2008, registering thousands of students to vote within the PASSHE and the overall commonwealth. During the 2008 election season more than 15 million 18-24 year olds registered to vote in the U.S. and approximately 12,500,000 cast a ballot.
“Colleges and Universities pride themselves in developing socially and civically responsible students,” said Shaquille Outar, President of the NAACP Pennsylvania State Youth and College Division. “We want to remind college systems, like PASSHE, to hold their schools accountable for one of the highest acts of civic engagement by preserving their students’ right to vote and encouraging voter participation.”