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'Why Vote?' Forum Set for Wednesday in the HUB

by on September 21, 2012 1:21 PM

Penn State women's basketball coach Coquese Washington, former Penn State assistant football coach Jay Paterno and a Penn State professor will headline the first "Why Vote?" forum in an effort to engage students about the importance of fulfilling their civic duty. 

From 8-9 p.m. in Heritage Hall of the HUB-Robeson Center on Wednesday, the forum, hosted by PSU Votes is a nonpartisan town-gown initiative, according to Penn State.

Three speakers will headline this first forum:

  • Paterno will present about "Elections Matter";
  • Washington will discuss "Why It's Important to Vote";
  • John Gastil, a professor of communication arts and sciences, will present "Do we really hate each other, or does it just look like it? Incivility, polarization, and deliberation in American politics."

Earlier in the day, Pennsylvania officials will hold a news conference in the HUB to energize the youth vote about casting their ballots and to explain Pa.'s new voter identification law, which goes into effect with November's election.

Carol Aichele, secretary of the Commonwealth Department of State, will talk about the new voter ID law at 10:30 a.m. on the first floor of the HUB, just outside the id+ office, Penn State officials said.

Aichele is also expected to urge young voters in Pa. to take advantage of their opportunity to vote in the upcoming presidential election. As the Commonwealth's chief election official, Aichele also will address Penn State's response to changing its student identification card (id+). Penn State added expiration dates to ensure all Penn State students eligible to vote are able to.

According to a news release, the state's voter ID law now requires voters to show an acceptable photo ID to vote at the polls. Before May of this year, Penn State student ID cards did not have anexpiration date, a requirement for a legitimate form of ID under the law.

Starting with summer orientation, all new student ID cards issued included a printed expiration date that is five years from the date of issue. During the current fall semester, students who have not yet been issued an ID card with an expiration date and alternatively have no other acceptable form of ID for voting can get an expiration sticker to put on their existing Penn State id+ Card, making it valid for voting.

The stickers are free and currently being issued at all Penn State campuses.

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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