Students without a state-issued ID may find it difficult to vote this year since school-issued student IDs will not be accepted. After the Supreme Court struck down the provision of the Voting Rights Act requiring some states to get federal preclearance before changing voting laws, the Texas attorney general immediately enforced controversial redistricting maps and strict voter ID laws approved by the legislature. These are the same laws that a panel of federal judges claimed last year would “impose strict and unforgiving burdens on the poor” and are some of the “most stringent in the country.” In 2008, the 18-to-29-year-old demographic made up 16 percent of Texas voters in the presidential election, roughly 1.3 million. A majority of them voted Democratic. Opponents of the legislation claim this is a tactic used by the Republican Party, along with the controversial redistricting maps, to cut into the Democratic vote. Being the gun-loving state that it is, Texas will accept a concealed handgun license at the polls. Other forms of ID that will be accepted are a state-issued driver’s license or ID card issued by the Department of Public Safety, a military ID containing the person’s photograph, a U.S. citizenship certificate, a U.S. passport or Texas elections ID.
Proponents of the ruling say Texans without a state-issued ID card can get one free from the Department of Public Safety. But it requires the same documentation needed to get a driver’s license, and these underlying documents can sometimes be costly. For example, if people have name changes that do not appear on their birth certificates, they must pay costly fees to get the name change, and the process can take over a year in court.
Since the law was enforced, only six of the election cards have been issued. The Department of Public Safety said there have been several calls, and people have been turned away for varying reasons.
The state cannot stop people from voting, but with the new law, officials can discourage people from trying by nitpicking the documents they provide, forcing people into courtrooms and fees to get the “free” ID.
Full Article: New law may restrict student voting | The Collegian.