Temple hosted Pennsylvania’s Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele for a press conference on Thursday, Oct. 4, in the 1810 Liacouras Walk conference room. The brief event featured talks from the secretary, Acting President Richard Englert, Temple University College Republicans Chair Erik Jacobs and Temple College Democrats President Dylan Morpurgo. The conversation focused on the state’s voter ID law, and the implications of last injunction from Judge Robert Simpson.
While the injunction has led to some minor confusion from voters, Aichele aimed to clarify any confusion.
“Judge Simpson has asked that we have a second rollout. So we will be doing the same process as we did in the primary, in asking people to show photo ID, but not requiring them to show [it],” Aichele said to an audience of three students and members of Temple’s administrative staff. “Currently, the voter ID law is still the law in Pennsylvania, so if you don’t have photo ID, it’s still a good idea to get one. They’re handy things to have.”
The secretary also highlighted Temple’s role in the voter ID debate, and praised the university for leading the way in including expiration dates on the new Owl Cards.
“Temple said they would put expiration dates on their ID cards, then the rest of Pennsylvania’s state system of higher education followed,” Aichele said. “You led the way, and I thank you for that.”
President Englert recognized students’ roles in the ID change, citing leadership and civic involvement as common qualities in Temple students.
“Because of our student’s urging, we literally changed the process, reengineered the cards, and made sure that the cards met the new Voter ID requirements,” Englert said. “And that was truly student-led.”
Along with providing the student body with acceptable identification, Englert also highlighted the university’s push to register and provide valid photo identification to members of the immediate local community.
“Temple plays a very critical role in the [voter ID] discussion, and I think this was an excellent forum all around. Temple essentially led the initiative to transform college IDs to be suitable for the new regulation,” said junior pre-med major Michael Kovich.
Kovich, a member of TCD, was joined by two other members at the conference. All were very optimistic about Temple’s political involvement, and are looking forward to campus response on Nov. 6.
“Everyone is very excited, people are looking to get involved. We’ve registered thousands of voters in the first month and a half of school,” Holly Genovese, vice president of TCD, said. “I think that that really shows that students are really paying attention.”
Ali Watkins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org