Pennsylvania voters will have to present photo identification at the polls this November, after a judge ruled in favor of the Republican-backed law earlier this month.
Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson said he believed the law would be carried out in a nonpartisan manner, striking down the complaint challengers of the law had claiming it would deny many state citizens the right to vote, particularly elderly and young voters, as well as minorities and the poor.
Republican legislatures insist that the new law is to prevent fraudulent votes.
Sharon Sykora, a political science professor at Slippery Rock University, believes the new voter law is ridiculous because there have been no notable instances of voter fraud in Pa.
“The Constitution doesn’t say you need an ID to vote,” Sykora said. “We have the right to vote without photo identification.”
Sykora believes that getting to the photo ID center is enough of an inconvenience to the disabled and the poor.
“It is just undemocratic and just wrong,” Sykora said. “It is unfair and unkind. The democracy should involve people.”
“I think it is wrong and a disadvantage to the young people and minorities,” Sykora said.
Dave Kershaw, political science professor, believes the idea of the law is generally a bad policy.
“It is based on little factual problem,” Kershaw said. “There is not a big problem of fraud in PA. The Republican legislature wants to suppress the Democratic voters.”
Kershaw believes the Republicans want to reduce the turnout of the minorities in the election.
“People, who are not informed ahead of time, are going to show up at the photo booth and not have IDs,” Kershaw said. “We need to be an inclusive Democracy and not put up barriers in front of the people.”
To comply with the new law, SRU has updated their ID card to include an expiration date, making it a valid card to present at the polls this election day.
Sykora said that the new law is not much of an issue for the University and that students are privileged to be able to update their ID cards.
Simeon Ananou, an associate provost for the Information and Administrative Technology Services, has been working in the 108A Maltby office for four years. He explains why new students have an expected graduation date on their cards.
“It is better to show when the card expires,” Ananou said. “It legitimizes the institution and the status of the student.”
Students may replace their old ID card for free in the ID Card Office located in Watson.
“I think it brings a good service to the student population,” Ananou said. “It is incentive information to the students as a reminder of when they should be graduating.”
Ananou finds that it is best to make the ID card serve several purposes while not revealing enough information that could jeopardize the students’ accounts.
“As technology evolves, we can see what information can be delivered to new students,” Ananou said.
Voters are now required to present a valid photo ID with an expiration date at the voting poll.
At the PennDOT Driver’s License Center, they will issue a free Pennsylvania Photo ID card to those who are eligible for one.