The effort to suppress student voting

College students voted in 2018. I know this because Florida International University allowed for a polling station in one of its buildings. But we can’t have students voting because they tend to skew Democratic.

The headline example is in New Hampshire. There, a Republican-backed law took effect this fall requiring newly registered voters who drive to establish “domicile” in the state by securing New Hampshire driver’s licenses and auto registrations, which can cost hundreds of dollars annually.

The dots are not hard to connect: According to the Tufts study, six in 10 New Hampshire college students come from outside the state, a rate among the nation’s highest. As early as 2011, the state’s Republican House speaker at the time, William O’Brien, promised to clamp down on unrestricted voting by students, calling them “kids voting liberal, voting their feelings, with no life experience.”

Florida’s Republican secretary of state outlawed early-voting sites at state universities in 2014, only to see 60,000 voters cast on-campus ballots in 2018 after a federal court overturned the ban. This year, the State Legislature effectively reinstated it, slipping a clause into a new elections law that requires all early-voting sites to offer “sufficient non-permitted parking” — an amenity in short supply on densely packed campuses.

North Carolina Republicans enacted a voter ID law last year that recognized student identification cards as valid — but its requirements proved so cumbersome that major state universities were unable to comply. A later revision relaxed the rules, but much confusion remains, and fewer than half the state’s 180-plus accredited schools have sought to certify their IDs for voting.

Wisconsin Republicans also have imposed tough restrictions on using student IDs for voting purposes. The state requires poll workers to check signatures only on student IDs, although some schools issuing modern IDs that serve as debit cards and dorm room keys have removed signatures, which they consider a security risk.

The law also requires that IDs used for voting expire within two years, while most college ID cards have four-year expiration dates. And even students with acceptable IDs must show proof of enrollment before being allowed to vote.

The Republican Party has made suppression of the franchise an essential part of its operations for close to forty years. It’s at the state level where the malfeasance happens, but they take their cues from a GOP Senate and president. Hence, a President Jeb! or President Plankton would’ve endorsed these practices. The truest line said on the record in today’s NYT story about suburban voters by a Kent County Trump supporter: “Just take out his name and look what he’s done for our community. Focus on his policies.”

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