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Student Voting Update for April 24, 2012

Blog Author: 
Josh Spaulding

This past month a new photo ID law was passed in Pennsylvania that will make it more difficult for students to vote. The new law only allows student IDs with an expiration date.

Find out what the mood is on campuses around the country about the upcoming election.

MIT students recently released a video on student voting that highlights that students don’t vote because they lack the information on how to register and vote.

There are several ways for students, administrators, and election officials to help get students the information they need to register and vote. This student update highlights what is being done on campuses and in the states to get students the information to participate and make voting more accessible as well as legislation that is specifically targeted to limit students’ access to the ballot. These are just a few examples from the past month. Please let us know of any recent activities on campuses or in the states that will impact students’ access to the ballot. Send your email to

To view non-student specific legislation that will impact access to voting, please visit our biweekly update on voter suppression legislation.

If you are interested in joining, Campus Vote Project, please sign up at


The Young Democrats and College Republicans at Georgia Southern University are working together to increase voter registration and student participation through a new voter initiative by simplifying the process. Once a student fills out a voter registration application, they are asked to provide contact information so they can be reminded of when to vote. Also, the Young Democrats have set up a hotline for students to call or text for voting information. The students also worked with the county election board to bring an early voting site to campus from October 23-25.


Earlier this month, student groups at Fort Hayes State University held a series of events leading up to Civic Engagement Day to encourage students to become politically engaged and provided an opportunity for students to register to vote.


A voter photo ID constitutional amendment will be on the November ballot that could have a big impact on student voters. ID cards from private schools may not count because the amendment would require a “government-approved” ID. Also, it is unclear if the ID must contain a current address which could impact a large number of college students. The amendment could impact same day registration as well. Students move more frequently than most other voters which could impact their ability to update their registration and have their ballot counted.

Minnesota PRIG has introduced an amendment to the Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences policy for the University of Minnesota campuses that would allow students an excused absence for voting.

New Hampshire

The legislature is still considering legislation that could prohibit out-of-state college students from voting unless they establish residency in New Hampshire in ways that exceed the current rules for voting purposes.

North Carolina

Students from three colleges in North Carolina held a press conference at the state capitol on April 23 to speak out against photo ID legislation. The Student Engagement and Empowerment Network is encouraging students at HBCUs in North Carolina to vote during the early voting period leading up to Election Day on May 8th. They are using videos and performances to encourage student participation.


Last month, a coalition of student groups at Lehigh University held a week long voter registration drive to encourage students to become more politically engaged. In total, they registered 165 students.

The new law passed last month requiring photo ID to vote will exclude student IDs from many Pennsylvania schools. The law requires an ID to contain an expiration date. A report released by Pennsylvania PIRG found that only 15 of 110 colleges and universities in Pennsylvania an expiration date required by the new law. Penn State announced it will issue stickers with an expiration date for current students who need it. They will also begin issuing ID cards with expiration dates for new students. Temple University has decided to issue new ID cards with expiration dates. York College and Millersville University are considering their options of issuing stickers or replacing ID cards. Bucknell University has not yet announced if it will add an expiration date.


The redistricting battle that has pushed back the Texas presidential primary twice now may have an impact on students. Earlier this year, the Tyler Junior College Student Senate, along with the Tyler Chapter of the League of Women Voters, held a voter registration drive in anticipation of the April 3rd primary that has since changed to May 29th, when many students leave for the summer. Students can still vote by a mail ballot or re-register back home.

Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro held a forum for high school students and college students from colleges in the San Antonio area to discuss the importance of voter registration and getting Latinos to the polls.


Members of the Student Government Association at Virginia Commonwealth University presented a list of legislative priorities to the General Assembly in late February. One of the priorities included allowing the state to email absentee ballots. The voter would then be able to print the ballot and mail it back in.


Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed has been touring colleges across the state to encourage student voting and participation in the political process. Several campuses held events during the student-run College Civics Week, founded by Reed in 2005. 


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