College Students and Voting

Last month Texas approved a bill that will require potential voters to present a state-issued identification card in order to vote. While the law was quite controversial (the U.S. Department of Justice is reviewing the law, as it has the right to do with all legislation that will would affect voter participation), what’s particularly interesting here is what does and does not count as valid identification.

Civil liberties groups argue that the new law would limit the participation of minority groups. Supporters argue that the new law prevents against voter fraud.

Apparently according to the new Texas law, scheduled to take effect January 1, 2012, a concealed-handgun permit is a valid form of identification for voting purposes. A student identification card issued by a Texas college, however, doesn’t count.

According to State Senator Troy Fraser, the Republican who wrote the bill, the problem is that the state doesn’t control the student ID cards:

We have a hundred different institutions in Texas that are government institutions, so you could potentially have a hundred different ID cards.

Currently the only cards valid for voting are a driver’s license, state non-driver’s identification card, a military ID, a concealed handgun license, and a passport. Only three of those forms of identification are actually issued by the state.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer