Arizona Rep. Bob Thorpe is getting a jump start on next year’s legislative session. His summer project? Restricting how college students vote. The Flagstaff Republican announced plans to introduce legislation next year to “address several problems with voting in Arizona’s college communities while ensuring that voting rights are preserved for all Arizona voters.” He alleges college students “unfairly influence” local elections by registering to vote using their college address, where they reside for “only six months out of the year.” That, he said, dilutes the votes of full-time residents. (And surely it has no connection to the fact that he and fellow Republicans narrowly held their seats in the district that includes Northern Arizona University.)
To solve this, Thorpe wants to require college students to use their permanent residence to register to vote and then allow the state to mail the ballot to their college address.
He also wants to require college students to prove they are full-time residents of their college community by providing a state-issued photo ID with a non-campus address.
Interestingly — or maybe unsurprisingly — Thorpe voiced no concerns about the state’s other large bloc of part-time resident voters: snowbirds. That group tends to lean decidedly more conservative than college students.