29 January, 2015
Lawmakers in Texas and North Dakota are considering the possibility of university-issued photo IDs to be accepted as an official voter ID in the hopes that the move will, in part, help boost college student turnout at the polls.
As reported by The Daily Texan, bills have been filed in both the House and Senate by Rep. Terry Canales (D-Edinburg), Rep. Celia Israel (D-Austin), Sen. Carlos Uresti (D-San Antonio) and Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) that would allow college students to present a university-issued photo ID as a valid form of voter ID. Proponents of the bill believe that, if passed, the use of university-issued photo IDs would make voting more convenient for students.
In October, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Texas’ voter ID law, which requires voters have a state-issued photo ID to vote. Under the current law, there are seven forms of voter ID currently accepted in the state of Texas, including a Texas driver’s license and a concealed handgun license.
Concerns of fraud surrounding the use of university IDs as a voter ID will likely be a concern for some, but the bill’s supporters insist that all voter information submitted for a university-issued ID would be double checked and verified to offer the proper identity assurance.
Elsewhere, North Dakota State Sen. Ray Holmberg, R-Grand Forks, has introduced a bill that would require student photo ID cards issued by North Dakota universities to include the student’s date of birth and residential address to make student cards an acceptable voter ID. According to a report from the Grand Forks Herald, the bill would also require the university to provide each student with information on voter eligibility requirements.
The use of university-issued IDs as an official voter ID has seemingly gained momentum over the past year, and making voting easier for college students is certainly an important issue. But this begs the question, is voter ID a desirable use of the campus card for all parties?