A representative of the North Dakota Student Association spoke against a bill that would tweak the state’s voter identification law Thursday. Kelsey Klein, governmental relations director for the group, told the House Government and Veterans Affairs Committee that House Bill 1333 could disenfranchise many student voters, especially those from out of the state. The bill would eliminate the option of student identification certificates that were provided by the university system. The bill, introduced by state Rep. Randy Boehning, R-Fargo, would allow a bill, bank statement or U.S. Postal Service change of address form to prove residency if a voter’s ID hadn’t been updated. It would also clarify acceptable forms of voter identification.
Rep. Ben Koppelman, R-West Fargo, took issue with the argument that students would be “disenfranchised” by the legislation. “To me, disenfranchisement is if you don’t give somebody the opportunity,” he said during the hearing. “If we’ve provided them the opportunity to get a North Dakota driver’s license … and if we do our best to inform them, could you really say that they’re disenfranchised?”
Klein responded that she felt many students, including herself, weren’t adequately educated about voter identification requirements during the most recent election. Specifically, she said she wasn’t aware her ID had to be updated 30 days in advance.