With the deadline to register to vote approaching on Oct. 9 and the new voter ID law affecting Pennsylvania, Penn State students must make sure they complete the necessary requirements before heading to the polls.
This is especially so for out-of-state students, who are required to do more than just register to vote in Centre County.
Out-of-state students must obtain a sticker with an expiration date for their Penn State student ID+ cards, as well as decide if they want to cast an absentee ballot or register to vote in Centre County.
“Most in-state students have a driver’s license, and the newer students are already set with their ID’s,” said Laura Brown, senior undergraduate studies adviser and member of the PSU Votes initiative. “If an [out-of-state] student got their Penn State ID before
May of this year, they will have to get a sticker.”
New students will already have an expiration date on their ID+ cards, but returning students must get a sticker in order to vote on Penn State’s campus.
As long as out-of-state students do this, they will be able to vote here for the presidential election, she said.
Chairman of the Centre County Democratic Committee Greg Stewart said that under the federal right to vote, students are permitted to vote at their college. He also said the key at Penn State is to have the appropriate sticker for student ID cards unless they have a
Pennsylvania Driver’s License.
In the state of Pennsylvania, all college IDs must have an expiration date to be considered an appropriate form of ID, according to the Votes Pennsylvania website. This means that all accredited colleges in Pennsylvania must have ID cards with an expiration date for students, unless they are in-state students with a driver’s license.
While an absentee ballot is also an option for out-of-state students, Stewart said that he encourages students to register to vote in Centre County.
Registering in Centre County is less of a process, he said. Absentee ballots require out-of-state students to print out the application, send it to their hometown, receive the ballot and send it back by Nov. 2 in order to vote in the presidential election, Stewart said.
“It’s a whole lot easier to vote on campus. It makes life a whole lot easier. It is definitely better to vote here,” Stewart said.
While Stewart believes it is easier to register to vote in Centre County, Secretary and Executive Director of the Centre County
Republican Committee Deb Flavin said that it is up to the student.
If an out-of-state student has the intention to move back home in the future, she said it might be better to cast an absentee ballot.
“A lot of students do choose to vote at home,” she said. “If students spend a lot of time up here, they may want to register here. It all depends on your future.”
Brown also said she encourages students to register in Centre County for the presidential election, as well as other local elections.
“You’re a resident here, and you have the potential to access local news and election information here that you can’t access for elections at home,” she said.
PSU Votes provides information online for students and Brown said that it is a valuable resource for students to use before going to vote this November.
Not only did Brown say it was important for local elections, but she also said registering in Centre County allows students to experience the atmosphere of the election.
She said voting here shows that students pay attention to the issues and care, and that whoever is elected should think of them when they are making new laws and policies in office.
“It’s just very exciting to stand in line at the polls waiting with other students,” she said. “It makes you feel like you’re part of something. It’s also making it known that students vote and care.”