Politics

Do North Carolina Senate Republicans Not Want College Students Voting?

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Republicans in the North Carolina Senate have proposed a bill that would eliminate half of the forms of identification a person can show to cast a ballot in the state and among the IDs that would be out include cards from UNC system colleges and state community colleges.

The proposal comes a few months after Republican State Rep. Bill Cook introduced a bill that would raise taxes on families with college students if their child registered to vote in the town where they attend school rather than the town where their parents live.

Cook’s bill would seemingly discourage college students from registering to vote in the community where they actually live and spend the majority of their time by imposing a financial penalty on their family if they do so.

The new proposal to eliminate some of the forms of ID comes just two months after the Republican-led North Carolina House approved a voter identification bill, a tactic known to reduce turnout among low-income, student and minority voters.

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“We want a state-issued ID or a federal-issued ID,” said Sen. Tom Apodaca, the bill’s chief supporter. He expressed concern that college IDs “could be manipulated” and allow out-of-state students to vote in two states.

“We want it succinct, and we are willing to pay for it,” Apodaca added, noting that the bill, which would take full effect in the 2016 elections, would provide free photo IDs to people without them.

The ban on college IDs will draw the most attention – particularly given President Barack Obama’s reliance on the youth vote to win North Carolina in 2008. The large number of college students in the Triangle area helped push him to victory and kept the margin of defeat close in 2012.

“They are adding as many hurdles as possible,” said state Rep. Duane Hall, a Raleigh Democrat. Not allowing college IDs is one of the “more pointedly partisan pieces of it because they know college students tend to vote more Democratic than Republican. It’s just another example of how this bill is partisan.”

A Senate panel is expected to hear the bill early next week with a floor vote soon after. The House is not likely to agree to the changes, setting up last-minute negotiations. House and Senate leaders hope to adjourn by the end of next week.

Sources: Think Progress, Charlotte Observer