This election year there has been a lot of confusing information about the ID a voter needs to cast a ballot. Fortunately, earlier this month, a Pennsylvania court correctly put on hold a law that required all Pennsylvania voters to show a photo ID to vote. Only those voting for the first time and voters that moved to a new polling place will have to show an ID to vote in the November election, but it doesn’t have to be a photo ID. Poll workers will continue to ask voters to show a photo ID but a person who is not voting for the first time at that polling location can still vote a regular ballot even if they lack ID.
“The back and forth caused by the photo ID law passed earlier this year may cause confusion for voters – particularly college students in Pennsylvania,” Dan Vicuna, Campus Vote Project coordinator said. “When the law first passed they were told that their student IDs may not comply with the new law. Now the law will not be in effect for November, but poll workers will still ask for a photo ID. Students need clear and accurate information so they can exercise their right to vote this November.”
Here are what students in Pennsylvania need to know to vote in November.
The voter registration deadline has passed. Oct. 9 was the last day to register to vote in Pa. If you moved since the last time you registered to vote, you can still vote if you moved within the same precinct. If you moved from one precinct to another, you might be able to vote one last time at your old polling place. Visit www.votespa.com for details and your voter registration status.
Election Day Information: Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Students can find their polling location at www.votespa.com.
You do not need to show a photo ID to cast a regular ballot. A poll worker will ask you to show a photo ID, but if you do not have one on you, you can still vote. First-time voters and voters that moved to a new polling location must show an ID to vote. You can show either a photo ID or non-photo ID. Approved forms of voter ID include:
Photo Identification: Pennsylvania driver’s license or PennDOT ID card, ID issued by any Commonwealth of Pennsylvania agency, ID issued by the U.S. Government, U.S. passport, U.S. Armed Forces ID, student ID, or employee ID. You may also have non-photo Identification (showing name and address) such as a voter registration card issued by voter registration commission, non-photo ID issued by the Commonwealth, non-photo ID issued by the U.S. Government, firearm permit or a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or government check.
To vote by absentee ballot in Pennsylvania, you must have an excuse. An application for absentee ballot must be received by the county board of elections by 5 p.m. on Oct. 30. Go to www.votespa.com for an application.
Students can also call 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683) with questions about voting or to report problems they encountered casting their ballots.
The Fair Elections Legal Network has student voting guides available for Pennsylvania and several other states that provide information on polling times, how to find a polling location, voting absentee, and ID requirements. Information on the student voting guides can be found at: www.campusvoteproject.org/studentguides.
Josh Spaulding is a special to The Quad who works at fairelectionsnetwork.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.