Morehouse College students can use their ID cards to buy food and school supplies, use computer labs and get books from the library, but they can’t use ID from the historic Atlanta school to vote. A few miles away, Georgia State University students use their ID in the same way, but their cards allow them to vote. Across the country, college students are facing new questions about their voting rights. In some states, communities are debating whether students can vote as state residents or vote absentee from their hometowns. In others, legislators have debated whether student IDs can be used at the polls. In Georgia, the debate started with the state’s voter ID law, which accepts student IDs from state colleges but not private institutions such as Morehouse. College students, who led a record turnout among 18- to 24-year-old voters in 2008, could play a major role in this November’s elections, but their impact could be blunted by states’ voter ID requirements.
In Georgia, for example, legislators have rejected student IDs from private schools, saying the lack of uniformity among school IDs would be a burden for poll workers. There are 198 accredited postsecondary schools in Georgia, including beauty academies and music institutes, according to the National Center of Education Statistics.
Even many ID cards from public colleges are rejected under some state laws, because the cards do not include addresses, issuance and expiration dates. In Wisconsin, some colleges paid for new, state-acceptable student IDs while others charged students for new IDs. Groups that advocate on behalf of young voters say restrictions against school IDs could drive down student turnout. “They’re another one of these suppression laws that affects disabled, older and younger voters on equal levels, but the older population is in the habit of voting,” said Sarah Stern, a spokeswoman for national advocacy group the League of Young Voters.
Full Article: Who Can Vote? – A News21 2012 National Project.