Students overlooked by voter ID laws

by Maddy Perello, Contributor

Voters in Pennsylvania received a mailer before the 2012 election that warned them they might not be eligible to vote in the upcoming election due to new identification requirements. A state judge later prevented those requirements from being implemented for that election, but the damage was already done. An estimated 35,000 voters stayed away from the polls because of the mailers they received.

Proposed changes in voter ID laws across the country would require voters to have a photo ID from the state in which they’re voting. Since any state ID is valid for driving, alcohol consumption, tobacco purchase and club entry, some college students don’t go to the trouble of obtaining identification from the state in which they go to school.

Therefore, such rules could severely diminish the number of out-of-state college students at the polls in upcoming elections.

Tennessee voters are required to show identification, but student IDs are not accepted. In Wisconsin, student-housing lists are not accepted as proof of residence. And fewer students are expected to vote in Florida since the state reduced its number of early-voting days.

Just because this type of voter suppression is not seen in California doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. Last year, seven percent of San Diego State undergraduate students were from outside California, according to the university’s website. If the state legislature were to pass voter-identification laws like those in other states, out-of-state SDSU students could be turned away from the polls, possibly even with their Red ID cards.

Only 21.5 percent of Americans aged 18-29 voted in the 2014 elections.

According to Project Vote’s website, seven million more votes would’ve been cast in the 2014 elections if younger voters flocked to the polls at the same rate those aged 30 and over did.

It may seem like one vote doesn’t matter, but it does. College students, like every other American citizen, should be paying attention to upcoming elections and planning to vote for candidates who support their political ideology. That is the only way to avoid voter suppression.