Junior political science major Niki Molinaro has voted in every election since she came to Elon University. But new North Carolina voter identification laws may keep her out of the voting booth. Although she considers Elon her home, Molinaro, an official New York resident, must present a North Carolina identification card at the polls if she wants to continue voting in North Carolina. The bill, passed August 2013, does more than require voters to show a government-issued ID at the polls. It also shortens the voting period by one week and ends same-day voter registration. This is particularly a problem for university students who use their college ID cards as a form of identification at the polls. Beginning in 2016, they will no longer be considered acceptable. “I think the new law is meant to keep certain groups of people out of the elections,” Molinaro said.
… Elon political science professor Kenneth Fernandez said any number of circumstances, including requirement of ID, could deter people from voting. “Even the tiniest barrier to voting will affect voter turnout,” he said. “So we think that making it difficult to vote is going to have an impact, especially on younger people.”
Fernandez said most older and middle-aged people often vote in many elections in a row, having established a routine and level of comfort in their voting duty. “Young people have social lives, they have school, they have part-time jobs, and so barriers to voting may affect younger people more,” he said. “And younger people have been in a different location for a shorter period of time.”