It’s a group that can score respectably on the SAT, find its way to classes most days and survive most midterms. But, the young campus crowd is often new to independence and to record-keeping. So how will college students do at democracy? Tougher voter identification laws, some advocacy groups contend, might present new challenges for thousands of college students who want to cast ballots this fall. “There are more obstacles (for student voters),” said Jon Sherman, an attorney with the Atlanta-based Voting Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. “For a demographic that sometimes struggles to get out to the polls, it’s much more challenging.” The size of that challenge will vary from state to state this year. In Tennessee, for example, voters must present a photo ID to vote, but student IDs aren’t considered valid for that purpose. A Texas law — now facing a legal challenge — allows use of a concealed weapons permit as a voter ID, but not a student ID card.
The recently enacted voter ID law in Kansas is less restrictive. It requires students to submit a photo ID to cast a ballot, but student IDs from any “accredited postsecondary institution in Kansas” are considered acceptable. Missourians can use non-photo IDs, and college, university, and vocational and technical school IDs are valid in the state. But Kansas election officials are worried some students might be confused or intimidated by the new photo ID law and skip voting, even though they may have valid identification. An out-of-state driver’s license is acceptable in the state, for example, as long as it has a photograph of the voter. “I think there’s a lot of stuff floating around the Internet and through other sources that aren’t the truth but spread really quickly, especially in a campus environment,” Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew said.
Louis Goseland is an organizer with KanVote, a group helping voters obtain necessary IDs before November. There has been some confusion in state offices offering free photo IDs, he said, but overall the state’s new law created few problems at polling places in spring. “What we don’t know is how many people didn’t show up to vote because they knew they needed a photo ID to vote and didn’t have one,” Goseland said. “So it’s going to be hard to determine how many people simply abstain from voting because they lack one of these documents.”
Full Article: Will ID laws lower college student vote? – KansasCity.com.