Starting in 2016, students in North Carolina will have to present a photo ID to vote. Among the forms of acceptable identification are driver’s licenses, passports and military IDs. College IDs, however, are not accepted. The new law has troubled many students in the college community, and now seven students are suing. The students claim the photo ID requirement and measures such as the elimination of out-of-precinct voting are discriminatory against young people, joining organizations such as the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Justice Department in a legal battle against the state. The case challenges the constitutionality of North Carolina’s Voting Information Verification Act (VIVA), passed by the state Legislature in 2013. The law also eliminates same-day registration for voters and shortens the period for early registration.
For many young people who move to different counties or states to attend college, this can make the voting process a lot more complicated, the students, who come from several different colleges, in the lawsuit claim. After moving counties to attend college, they report having used one-stop voting, or a form of early voting. Once VIVA goes into effect in 2016 however, these students say their future right to vote will be “unduly” burdened.
Jocelyn Hunt, a senior and American political science major at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. who is the vice president of North Carolina’s College Democrats chapter, says she has moved four times in the past four years. Since college students typically move to new residences in mid-August, Hunt says they have about three weeks before the registration deadline approaches to ensure that they can register to vote.