Campus Cards, College and University Identification and Security

Will voter ID laws lower college student vote?

Friday, July 6, 2012

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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Contract changes and expirations have caused a crunch for University of Chicago students looking to top up their ID cards with laundry funds.

The University removed cash-to-card machines from residence halls at the beginning of this academic year, leaving students with just two locations at which they can reload their ID cards for laundry. Now, rather than having machines located in residence halls, the students must report to two central locations, a campus convenience store and Bartlett Hall, a highly trafficked building that contains a dining hall, and other student resources.

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A new student-led proposal at Columbia University is looking to place stickers on student ID cards that display contact information for sexual and mental health resources.

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St. Petersburg College and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority have launched the new Universal Pass initiative, which enables SPC students and employees to ride the bus for free by showing their university ID as they board.

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The Taipei City Government yesterday announced an implementation plan that would require students in the country’s major metropolises to register for student EasyCards, which provide discounts on bus fares.

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