Speaking to a group of more than 30 Penn State New Kensington students who will cast national ballots for the first time in April, five local politicians put aside their campaign speeches and stressed the importance of exercising the right to vote, regardless of the students’ political party affiliation, at a dinner Feb. 25 in the campus Conference Center. The “Diplomatic Dinner” was organized by My Vote Matters, a group of campus students who are mobilizing the college youth vote.
As Election Day 2016 approaches, a majority of U.S. citizens over the age of 18 are eligible to vote — regardless of their race or skin color, ancestry, sex, education, income, literacy, religion, English language skills, previous incarceration or disability — but this has not always been the case. The exhibit “Journey to Inclusion: Voting Rights in America,” on display through July 2016 in the Diversity Studies Room, 203 Pattee Library, reflects on nearly 240 years of voting rights history in the U.S.
With the 2012 presidential election day finally here, college students remain less likely to vote than older voters. Statistics from the Fair Elections Legal Network's Campus Vote Project show that more than 25 percent of college students didn't register to vote because they don't know where or how to do so. Two Penn State political science professors explain why students are less likely to engage in civic participation and why they should get involved.
PSU Votes, a nonpartisan Penn State initiative, is organizing a Voter Registration Day on Monday, Oct. 8, at the University Park campus. The event will include a celebration in the HUB-Robeson Center beginning at 10 a.m. until 4 p.m with a focus on promoting student voter registration at Penn State prior to the commonwealth's Oct. 9 voter registration deadline.
Last Wednesday (Sept. 26) Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele commended Penn State for making its student IDs acceptable for voting under Pennsylvania's voter ID law. Beginning with this November's election, Pennsylvania voters are required to show valid photo ID to cast a ballot.
"Penn State quickly took action to add expiration dates to ID cards for incoming students beginning with this past summer term, and making university issued stickers available for returning students, to ensure all Penn State students are able to vote," Aichele said at a news conference in the Hetzel Union Building on Penn State's University Park campus. "Penn State is our state's largest university, and this action made sure any of the school's 90,000-plus students who don't have other acceptable ID can vote using their student ID."
Pennsylvania officials will hold a news conference Sept. 26 at Penn State to remind young voters about the importance of casting their ballots and to explain Pennsylvania's new voter identification law, which goes into effect with November's election. A forum titled "Why Vote?" is scheduled for later that evening in the HUB-Robeson Cultural Center, featuring speakers Jay Paterno, Coquese Washington and Professor John Gastil, and will be streamed on the web at http://wpsu.org/live online.
Carol Aichele, secretary of the Commonwealth Department of State, is scheduled to talk about the law at 10:30 a.m. on the first floor of the HUB, just outside the id+ office on the University Park campus. She also plans to urge Pennsylvania's youngest voters to take advantage of their opportunity to vote in the upcoming presidential election.
Changes have been made to the Penn State id+ Card to help provide a valid voting credential for students who have no other form of acceptable ID for voting under Pennsylvania's new law.
An expiration date has been added to all id+ cards issued since May 7, 2012 -- meeting the requirements of the new Voter ID Law. Stickers with expiration dates will be issued to existing student cardholders who wish to use their id+ card to vote. Many Penn State students already possess a Pennsylvania driver's license and will not need an id+ card expiration date sticker. Students who request a sticker will need to present their id+ card and come prepared to affirm that they have no other form of valid ID for voting.
Penn State plans to alter its student ID cards to accommodate the newly enacted Pennsylvania Voter law that will require voters to show an acceptable photo ID to vote at the polls starting with the November 2012 general election. Currently, Penn State student ID cards do not have an expiration date.
Beginning with summer orientation, all new student ID cards issued will include a printed expiration date that is five years from the date of issue. During the 2012 fall semester, current students who have not yet been issued an ID card with an expiration date, and possess no other acceptable form of ID that can be used for voting, will be issued an expiration sticker that can be affixed to Penn State's id+ Card, making it valid for voting under the new law.
Penn State students lined up early to vote in the 2008 general election Tuesday (Nov. 4) at the polling location at the HUB-Robeson Center on the University Park campus. Nearly all students living on campus and registered to vote in Centre County -- except North Halls residents -- vote at the HUB, where 46 voting booths were installed in Alumni Hall. North Halls residents vote at St. Paul's Methodist Church on McAllister Street in downtown State College. Approximately 1,000 students were lined up to vote in the HUB as polls opened at 7 a.m. Polls are open until 8 p.m. in Pennsylvania. For photos from the voting location at the HUB, go to http://live.psu.edu/stilllife/1871.
Students and other members of the Penn State community are reminded that Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4. Polls are open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. All eligible student voters are encouraged to take part in the democratic process by exercising their right as United States citizens to vote. PSUvote.org provides comprehensive information on the upcoming election, including links to numerous useful sites for non-partisan information on candidates. The site also offers a detailed map of polling locations and frequently asked questions about what kind of identification is needed, what can be expected at the polls and what to do if you have a problem voting.