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Bill to outlaw use of student IDs at the polls is introduced

A sign shows the way to a polling station in Austin, Texas. A federal appeals court has knocked down a state voter ID law.
Erich Schlegel
Getty Images
A sign shows the way to a polling station in Austin, Texas. A federal appeals court has knocked down a state voter ID law.

Republican legislators are moving forward with a bill that would outlaw using student IDs to vote. The bill was introduced by freshman Rep. Tina Lambert who said she’s concerned students from Oregon and Washington would vote twice in an election - which is already a felony.

At a hearing on Friday, opponents said they worried this would disenfranchise voters. Ada County resident Andrea Wilson said the odds of student IDs being used for fraud were “astronomically low.”

“Why are lawmakers manufacturing a crisis that doesn't really exist in order to create additional barriers to entry for young voters?” she said in front of the committee.

Borah High student Mae Roos also testified against the bill, saying the cost of other valid IDs might be a barrier.

“Idaho already has incredibly low voter participation rates that will only continue to crumble if we are taught disenfranchisement from the very beginning,” Roos said.

“When we're told over and over again by bills like this and our legislature that voting is hard, voting should be expensive, our voices aren't valued, then we are going to start to believe that message, and we're not going to want to participate in our democratic process,” the student added, saying the risk of preventing legal workers from voting outweighed the risk of fraud.

Secretary of State Phil McGrane agreed there was no rampant voter fraud in Idaho, including from students, but said this would help make sure it stays that way.

“The reason that is the case is because of our vigilance because we do put safeguards in place and we have election workers throughout the state who are ensuring that our system is safe,” he said.

Out of the roughly 600,000 Idahoans who voted in the November 2022 elections, 98.8% used a driver's license, McGrane testified. Only 104 used their student ID to cast their ballot.

State law currentlyallows state-issued and tribal IDs, passports, student IDs or concealed weapon licenses as proof of identity at the polls. Following testimonies, the bill was sent to the second reading calendar.

I joined Boise State Public Radio in 2022 as the Canyon County reporter through Report for America, to report on the growing Latino community in Idaho. I am very invested in listening to people’s different perspectives and I am very grateful to those who are willing to share their stories with me. It’s a privilege and I do not take it for granted.

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