By 2016, college students and citizens in North Carolina will have to adhere to new policies in regards to voting. By way of a Youtube video, Governor Pat McCrory announced in August that he signed House Bill 589. “Common practices like boarding an airplane and purchasing Sudafed require photo ID, and we should expect nothing less for the protection of our right to vote,” the governor said. The bill will require voters to show photo identification at polling sites. However, only military ID cards, a valid driver’s license, passports, and tribal cards will be accepted. Student identification cards will not be an acceptable form. Eliminating the use of student ID cards as an acceptable form of identification forces students to not vote in the county of which their campus is located. College students must request an absentee ballot from the precinct of their permanent address or parents may pay a $2,500 fee so that their child may vote out of their district. It is also unclear if students will be able to use their on-campus addresses as their permanent residence in order to get a DMV issued ID.
“I think voter ID is a way to suppress the voice of the youth and rewind the clock of our state by 50 years,” said Sasasha Flemming, a junior African-American studies major. “The restrictions that are in VIVA are similar to those that were implemented in the 60’s.” VIVA stands for Voter Identification Verification Act, another name for HB 589.
Cardes Brown, the president of Greensboro’s NAACP branch said that the legislation restricts students from being allowed to vote in cities where their colleges and universities are.
“Students in essence are really not allowed to vote in areas where they should be permitted to vote,” Brown said. He feels that students are affected by the decisions that are made in Guilford county and that they should be able to take place in the voting process.