Four Texas lawmakers are making voter turnout among college students a priority by proposing bills that would make university-issued ID cards an acceptable form of voter ID. The bills, 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), would allow students to present a university-issued photo ID as a valid form of voter ID. Watson said his bill, if passed, would make voting more convenient for students. “Those in control of the Capitol have created unnecessary burdens for folks who don’t already have an acceptable form of ID to vote,” Watson said in an email to the Texan. “This is an easy way to begin removing those burdens.”
In May, Student Government sent a formal letter in support of student IDs as a valid form of voter ID to the UT System Board of Regents. The System approved the letter as a legislative priority for the University. Chris Jordan, SG chief of staff, authored the letter and said he is excited to see support for this initiative in the legislature.
“We’re not the first ones to say this is an issue,” Jordan said. “But we’re just glad to get the conversation started.”
In October, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Texas’ voter ID law, which requires voters have a state-issued photo ID to vote. Texas is one of seven states that requires voters to present photo IDs before casting a ballot. Other states request ID but do not require it, and 20 states do not require any ID.