11/6/18 Elections at PMU, line

Students wait in line to vote at the Purdue Memorial Union last fall. 

Tippecanoe County’s clerk would like Purdue to add expiration dates to the identification cards it issues to allow students to use those photo IDs to vote.

In an email Saturday, Julie Roush, who took office in January, said the issue of whether Indiana law mandates an expiration date on the photo IDs accepted at polling places has arisen, calling into question whether Purdue’s identification cards are enough to allow students without other Indiana photo IDs to vote.

Roush said in the email, which was apparently written in reaction to recent media reports about an election board meeting Friday, that she is not trying to eliminate Purdue IDs as a valid form of ID or trying to suppress votes.

Tim Doty, the director of public information and issues management for Purdue, said via email that students in the past could use their ID to vote as long as their name was active in the online student directory.

"We saw the reports over the weekend that this arrangement may no longer be sufficient," Doty said. "We look forward to speaking with state and county officials to learn more and how we can be a partner in facilitating voting.”

Roush said in the email that past election procedures may have violated Indiana law, which says state-issued IDs must include a photograph and an unexpired date.

A co-director said that in 2018, students had to show poll workers proof of their enrollment on their phones, the clerk said. It is not clear what that proof entailed.

Roush called the Indiana Election Commission about updating the outdated Voter Center plan and said she was told that looking up student enrollment online is not a valid method of verifying a student’s identity. She also said a state official told her over the phone that an election officer who knowingly uses an unauthorized procedure commits a Level 6 felony.

The voting process for November’s election has not been changed as of yet, according to Roush.

“The word is that this is politically motivated, that I want voter suppression and that I am eliminating Purdue IDs as a valid ID — this is just not true,” Roush wrote in the email. “Our process has not been changed, only the issue has been raised. On the plus side, a person with the University stepped up at the meeting and stated they would like to assist us in the process of changing Purdue IDs.”

She did not name who represented the University at the meeting. Roush said she has contacted Purdue to request the addition of expiration dates to student IDs but has not heard back.

According to an internet search, Indiana University, the University of Notre Dame and Indiana State University all include expiration dates on their IDs. Ball State University does not.

Alec Leiter, a recent Purdue graduate from the College of Science, said Sunday he is in favor of adding expiration dates.

“Any sort of thing that would add ease that would be a good thing,” he said.

“We cannot ignore this,” Roush said in her email, “but must be prudent — as it is very important that we follow the law.”

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