Upon reading an article in the Huffington Post, there’s one argument they make that I’d like to rip to shreds: Voter ID laws are discriminatory and newer voters will be scared away. As a “younger voter” this has become an offensive and alarming topic concerning my generation. The following is a helpful guide for my generation of supposedly lost (or clueless) voters, and hopefully a slap of reality to those saying such laws discriminate against college voters.
Myth: Not allowing the use of Student IDs and college housing lists as proof of residency will turn away voters.
Fact: Student IDs and temporary college housing lists are not Government issued or are formal documents of land ownership. Students IDs are a form of identification for solely college purposes (such as the use of library facilities, dining halls, bookstore, etc.). Housing lists are generally only temporary during school term periods and are capable of changing per semester/quarter. Please keep in mind that these are also given to foreign exchange students (who technically do not have U.S. citizenship and are therefore disqualified to vote).
Myth: Reduction in early voting days reduces the number of youth and first-time voters.
Fact: College students hold off everything until the last possible minute thanks to either busy schedules or flat-out laziness. I would know. I’ve done it before. However, for politically-savvy students who have a tendency to dedicate their lives to campaign work apart from their collegiate career, it’s really a no-brainer.
Solution: Convince fellow students they need to vote early as it is imperative to their future well-being and America. And may the force be with you because that can prove to be a challenge.
Myth: Voting polls that do not accept out-of-State IDs and Driver’s Licenses will not allow voters from out of State to vote at a nearby polling place.
Fact: You’re not from that State/area. Political issues (laws, monetary policies, State regulations, etc.) vary from State to State as well as county/city ordinances, etc. Each region has pin-pointed policies unique to that area and must therefore hold its own elections with different ballots. Hence the creation of Voter Absentee Ballots so citizens who would not be in their “home” area during elections would have the ability to cast their vote.
Solution: Either: A. Go to your local DMV or State website and search/fill out an absentee ballot, B. Don’t vote, or C. Ask your parents, friend, professor, or that nerdy and politically-savvy person down the hall (also found in libraries) for help.
Myth: Voter ID laws still potentially promote discrimination against every race, gender, faith, and sexual orientation in many U.S. regions today.
Solution: Look around your college campus and tell me if there is any discrimination going on anywhere. You’ll find that there generally isn’t unless your professor is blatantly liberal, and pushing an ideological agenda on his or her students.
Stop listening to what the media says and look things up yourself (Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert don’t count, people). We already know Google is our best friend during our collegiate careers. This fantastic source of magical powers is also useful for looking things up non-college related. Use it. If you have a phobia of signing paperwork that has anything to do with the government, you’re just going to have to get over it as it’s part of life in the adult world (thanks to taxes, passports, etc.). We’re adults now. It’s time you start thinking about your own future in America.