The Wisconsin State Legislature is considering a new proposal that would increase the difficulty of college students to register to vote, by requiring them to present identification with an up-to-date address on it. The plan, which according to Republicans would curb voter fraud, has been raising eyebrows of young people all across the state. By voiding student IDs and other proofs of residence as a legitimate source of identification, the potential law would require constituents to obtain IDs through the local DMV. Not only would this law be costly for students, but it would need to be a yearly commitment. Students are a mobile group, as they continuously look for more reliable and economic places of living, a change on their ID cards would need to accompany the already-burdensome process of moving. A reliable Democratic vote, the student voting bloc would be reduced to those willing to change their ID cards repeatedly.
Due to high amounts of student traffic within college towns, not allowing student IDs as an acceptable form of identification would substantially affect students’ voting rights. One of many state campuses, the University of Wisconsin alone has a yearly in-and-out-flow that fluxes by the thousands. High school applicants, transfer students and out-of-state students all make up such a list. The hundreds of out-of-state students, many of whom may already be legally able to drive, would need to join their fellow in-state students and pay $28 to acquire another ID, just for the sole purpose of voting. Quite literally, tens of thousands of students all across the state would be denied their Constitutional right to vote because their student IDs would be rejected as an acceptable form of identification, worth nothing more than a piece of plastic.
A cumbersome process, it is curious that state Republicans are not including student IDs on the list of acceptable documents. One suggestion could be they are targeting state universities because that is where much voting fraud occurs. With hardly any confidence in Wisconsin’s educational institutions, state Republicans supposedly believe Voter ID is necessary because it would stop any person not enrolled in college from going to their local university and obtaining a forfeit student ID. It only adds insult to injury that they too have inhibited educational funding.
As the saying goes, it is “one man, one vote.” Because the chances of a single person swinging an election are slim-to-none, a person would need to repeat the process of obtaining different student IDs many times in order to turn the tide of an election. Figuratively speaking, with reference to the recent spring elections, “Oliver Closeoff” would have needed to collect 7,313 different IDs in order to turn the election results in favor of David Prosser, a feat that would normally be better reserved for other forms of voter fraud.
The most logical and even commonsense argument for not including student IDs as an acceptable form of ID is preventing students from voting would enable state Republicans to keep their seats. The student population tends to vote Democratic, and by requiring a mobile body to continuously change their IDs, it would make it a more arduous process for first-time voters to cast their ballots. As Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, may eloquently put it, “If we win this battle, certainly what you’re going to find is that President Obama will have a much more difficult time winning the state of Wisconsin.” Now if only politicians were that honest all the time, it would make our voting procedures that much easier.
Robert Lange ([email protected]) is the media director for the Young Progressives, and is a senior at UW majoring in political science, computer design and Spanish.