In response to the voter ID law, some want Owl Cards to don expiration dates.
Temple Student Government is moving forward this week with a resolution calling on the university to equip new Owl Cards with expiration dates in order to better suit a recently passed voter identification law in Pennsylvania.
Last week, TSG sent out letters to various university offices asking for an inquiry into how Temple could adopt expiration dates on all new Owl Cards so that they may be used as a valid form of voter identification as required by House Bill 934, which was passed in March.
House Bill 934 is an amendment to the Pennsylvania Election Code of 1937, requiring voters to present a valid form of photo identification at the polls in order to vote. Without expiration dates, Owl Cards do not fit the legal requirement. The new law does not give a specific time for how long expiration dates have to last.
Temple College Democrats, who oppose the law, first proposed the resolution to TSG on March 19. The resolution was unanimously passed a week later on March 26.
TCD Membership Director Dylan Morpurgo, a sophomore political science major, called the bill “a solution without a problem,” citing that it could potentially disenfranchise thousands of voters come fall.
“For numerous reasons we oppose this law,” Morpurgo said. “We are just trying to make it as easy as possible for students to vote.”
Darin Bartholomew, vice president of the Temple University College Republicans, said his organization supports both the bill and the TSG resolution.
“We think that it is definitely a bill that solves a real problem, voter fraud is a real issue, especially in the city of Philadelphia,” Bartholomew said. “We’re in support of the bill, but I’m also in support of making it work so that people can vote.”
David Lopez, TSG student body president-elect and TCD president, said that TSG is contacting the university about adding expiration dates to the Owl Cards in order to get a jump on the new law.
“We are making the motions to sit down and talk with people and discuss the possibility of putting expiration dates on IDs,” Lopez, a junior political science and philosophy major, said.
The university does not have any specific plans for adding expiration dates to Owl Cards.
“Since the new law is passed, we are looking into what options we have in putting expiration dates on student IDs,” Eryn Jelesiewicz, director of university communications, said.
Lopez, however, said the university already has plans to change Owl Cards this summer and fall.
“We’re not asking them to change the cards just because of the expiration date,” Lopez said. “We are just asking them to add the expiration date on the cards they are changing.”
The Diamond Dollar office did not respond for comment at the time of press.
Both TCD and TUCR have plans to bring awareness of the bill at the annual Spring Fling.
Morpurgo said that TCD has been working with the American Civil Liberties Union to gather support in favor of repealing the legislation, and the two groups will be at Spring Fling to help make voters aware of new procedures.
TUCR plans on taking a different stance promoting the bill at Spring Fling.
“It’s pretty well said that both sides are going to have something to do with voter ID at Spring Fling,” Bartholomew said. “Our focus is going to be more on how easy it will be to get ID, how you need ID already for a number of things.”
Of the four state-related schools in Pennsylvania, only the University of Pittsburgh has expiration dates on student identification cards.
John Moritz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.