Temple began distributing new Owl Cards yesterday, Aug. 27, providing students, faculty and professors with a valid form of identification as per the Pennsylvania voter ID law, which requires voters to produce a photo ID before casting a ballot in the upcoming Nov. 6 election.
In the past, The Temple News recognized that this controversial law may present obstacles for eligible voters. We have supported Temple Student Government’s initiative toward redesigning Owl Cards with the expiration date requirement of the voter ID law, and are pleased to see all 14 universities under the Pennsylvania State System of Higher education have also adapted cards with expiration dates.
As Lily Fronden reports in “New IDs ready for pick up” p. 1, re-carding more than 45,000 students for the first time since 2005 was possible through the efforts of Computer Services and Diamond Dollars.
While The Temple News applauds the university for distributing students with IDs that will ensure they have a voice and vote in the upcoming election, we find it important to distribute information about what this new law will mean for Pennsylvania.
The Temple News has previously stated we do not see voter fraud as a serious threat. An analysis by the investigative reporting project News21 found that of 2,068 reported fraud cases since 2000, only 10 of them were alleged in-person voter impersonation. The report found that the cases of fraud were most prevalent in absentee ballots and voter registration – instances that would not be eliminated with this new law.
Opposition of the law has been heard from civil-rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, who sued Pennsylvania in state court fearing the law would disenfranchise minorities, students, senior citizens and the disabled. Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson upheld the law on Aug. 15.
The Temple News encourages Pennsylvania college students to exercise their right to vote this November and to inform friends, family and community members of the new law so that their voices and votes can be expressed. We continue to support campus initiatives that assist voters at Temple and in the surrounding community.