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College Students Target of Voter ID Laws
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Voter identification laws across the country have taken aim at college students from Tennessee to Florida to Wisconsin to Pennsylvania. The new law in Tennessee excludes student IDs and the new law in Pennsylvania excludes some student IDs and bans out-of-state driver’s licenses. The Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group found that universities in Pennsylvania are printing expiration stickers for student IDs so the cards are valid at the polls.

David Halperin is an attorney and formerly was the director of Campus Progress. Halperin said, “This is absolutely perfectly rigged to prevent students from voting. In general, they would prefer that students don’t vote … They certainly don’t want students to vote in swing states who don’t live in swing states.”


Maxwell Love is a student at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Love said, “It’s the little things that make voting harder that are going to affect apathetic students … This is like literally slamming the door on youth engagement. The confusion surrounding it … is the most infuriating thing. The confusion is, like, literally pissing people off to the point where they’re not going to take the time to figure it out.”

Students have found that voting can be particularly difficult because of being from out of state. Many of them do not get IDs for the state where they attend school and some do not even drive. One option for students is to sign-up for an official change of address when they head to college.

“In college life, you move around from dorm to dorm, but you reside in that city where the college is located for the majority of the year,” Anne Taylor said. Taylor attends Marquette University as a graduate student. Taylor formerly was the president of College Democrats. “I think you should have a say in who is going to represent your needs.”

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Students wishing to vote in Tennessee cannot provide a school ID card at the polls but those same university ID cards are acceptable forms of ID for faculty members. State Senator bill Ketron, who was the sponsor for the Tennessee voter ID law, said that most student IDs are fake so students can lie about their age. Most student IDs do not provide the birth date of the student though.

The executive director for the American Civil Liberties Union in Tennessee, Hedy Weinberg, said that the ID law “makes it really obvious that the goal is to suppress the students’ access to the ballots.”


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