Voter ID laws affect a lot of different types of people, and in many of them, students are specifically targeted. The laws are different according to the states and some are more restrictive than others.
In some states, like Virginia, students can vote with any valid ID from any college or university (this, of course, does not include the very large number of young people who do not attend college and do not have ID. They just can't vote.).
In Georgia, you can vote with your student ID if you go to a public or technical college or university, but not if you attend a private college (for instance, Spelman, Morehouse, and Clark Atlanta, three of the biggest and most prestigious Historically Black colleges in the country. All private. All in Georgia. Those students can't vote with their student ID).
Wisconsin allows students to vote with their student IDs IF they include the following information:
- date of issuance
- signature of student
- expiration date no later than two years after date of issuance
Also, the university or college ID must be accompanied by a separate document that proves enrollment. Remember your student IDs? They probably didn't have one more of those items, and they almost certainly did not expire within two years.
These states and more have challenging and problematic requirements, but there are four voter ID states: Tennessee, South Carolina, Iowa, and Texas, where students cannot vote with their student ID at all.
To tackle the unique challenges and opportunities for student voters, we built a program specifically for college campuses. With this program we're hiring Campus Ambassadors, students who will build Spread The Vote chapters on their college campuses, and work towards getting IDs for their fellow students and getting them to the polls.
The popular narrative that young people don't care, that they are apathetic or lazy or ignorant about politics is deeply untrue. Students are engaged, passionate, and active. They plan protests, build movements, and care deeply about the world and how it is being run. They want to vote, and Spread The Vote is going to making sure they can.
And we're starting in Tennessee and Virginia.
We just launched our first campus chapter in Tennessee at the University of Tennessee Knoxville.
Want to get involved at UT? Email Clarke at email@example.com.
Interested in getting involved on another campus or around Tennessee? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.