Tougher voter ID laws in many states have some wondering if they could hinder voter turnout among college students.
There seems to be no definitive ID law. What’s required at the voting booth varies from state to state. Tennessee, for example, requires voters to present a photo ID to vote, but student IDs aren’t considered valid for that purpose. A Texas law, which is now in the courts, enables use of a concealed weapons permit as a voter ID, but not a student ID card.
In Pennsylvania, a photo ID with an expiration date is required. Many schools there are producing stickers that can be affixed to student IDs.
A new voter ID law in Kansas is less restrictive. It requires students to submit a photo ID to cast a ballot, but student IDs from any “accredited postsecondary institution in Kansas” are considered acceptable. Missourians can use non-photo IDs, and college, university, and vocational and technical school IDs are valid in the state.
The new laws set up “more obstacles (for student voters),” commented an attorney with the Atlanta-based Voting Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. “For a demographic that sometimes struggles to get out to the polls, it’s much more challenging.”
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