Today the House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee will hear testimony on SB2330, which would add university-issued student ID’s to the list of acceptable forms of identification for voting.
The bill requires that the university-issued ID’s meet these requirements:
There are some real problems with this legislation. First and foremost, the legislation seems to go out of its way to create voting avenues for college students.
Access to the voting should be equal. A college student can choose to vote in their college district (as opposed to wherever they live when school isn’t in session) simply by getting a student ID from the university with their campus address on it. But a non-student voter who, say, moved across the state would have to go through the process of changing their address with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
And why should the universities get to issue identification? We’ve had a major influx of workers into western North Dakota. Are we going to let oil and gas industry companies issue employee id’s that are valid for voting?
In the voter ID debate the opponents of identification laws tend to infantilize those they claim they’re protecting. In this instance, we’re treating college students like children who aren’t capable of meeting the same voting requirements other citizens live with. That’s wrong. These students are adults.
If they can’t figure out the voter ID requirements, then too bad.
But according to recent polling, students didn’t have anywhere near the problems with voting that some have claimed.
Voter ID laws are good policy. Access to the ballot should be limited to qualified voters, and laws to verify that voters are qualified make sense. But those laws should be applied equally, with no special treatment for any one segment of voters.