Louisiana’s House Education Committee has approved a bill that will enable college students in the state to use their campus-issued student ID cards as an official form of identification for voting.
Per a report from The Advertiser, the bill could enable campuses to implement the measure as early as this fall, although it won’t be required to take effect until 2019. According to House Bill 940, brought forth by Rep. Randal Gaines, D-LaPlace, valid student ID cards will be required to have a photo of the cardholder along with a signature in order for the credential to be accepted under Louisiana state voter identification laws.
The bill is receiving significant backing from the Secretary of State’s office, as well as from every four-year public university in the state, according to LSU Student Government representative Jacques Petit, who spoke before the House Education Committee on the matter. Individual institutions can choose to implement the program prior to the 2019 deadline, and LSU is reported to be planning to institute the policy this fall. The bill would also apply to community and technical colleges in the state.
As for issuance, Petit suggests that campuses will have two options for getting voter-ID compliant campus cards into students’ hands. Campuses can either issue voter-ID compliant cards to every student via a campus-wide recarding, or issue individually to incoming students and existing students who request the credential. The LSU president’s office estimates that for LSU the issuance costs for each method would total $34,000 and $10,800 respectively.
Slight concerns were raised regarding individuals using a student ID to vote long after graduating or leaving campus. In response, under the proposed bill student ID cards would expire every four years to comply with Louisiana state law that requires valid, unexpired identification to be presented at the polls.
The bill received no vocal opposition in the House and will move to the Senate where it is also expected to pass.