Many North Carolina voters may face a shock when they next go to the polls. Republican state legislators have proposed three bills that restrict access to the voting ballot by adding additional fees on the parents of college students who register to vote in a county that is not where their home address is located and by requiring photo identification to vote.
The first bill, SB 667, which affects North Carolina residents and has caused a great deal of controversy. The bill states that “If the voter is a dependent of the voter’s parent or legal guardian, is 18 years of age or older and the voter has registered at an address other than that of the parent or legal guardian, the parent or legal guardian will not be allowed to claim the voter as a dependent for state income tax purposes.”
The exemptions given to North Carolina parents is worth anywhere from $2,000 to $2,500, and if the law is passed, these parents would face an increase in their taxes. According to an article published by the Huffington Post April 5, “Republican sponsors have defended their push to reform voting laws as a way to save money.”
They also report that “the conservative-backed Voter Integrity Project of NC hailed the college voting restrictions as a way to ‘shift the landscape of college town voting.'”
Sophomore Laura Jurotich, a resident of Alabama who is registered to vote in Forsyth County, feels that the college voter law is dangerous. “I think it is silly. Just because I’m not living in the same county as my parents doesn’t mean I am not still dependent on them,” Jurotich said.
Sophomore Brandon West, a state resident registered in Forsyth County despite his parents living elsewhere in the state, finds the move by the GOP to be an affront to democracy.
“This is nothing less than an attempt to hinder voting by liberal college students, the same voters who the GOP knows will not vote for their candidates or measures,” West said.