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Student leaders give mixed reviews to voter ID bill

Campus student leaders gave a mixed reaction to a bill that wouldn’t accept university IDs as a form of identification to vote.

A state Senate proposal would require voters to show one of seven types of photo identification issued by the government.

These include driver’s licenses, passports, nondriver IDs, and military or veteran cards.

The bill would go into effect for the 2016 election. A Senate panel will take up the bill this week.

The bill excludes about half of the types of photo identification allowed under the House version passed two months ago.

The Association of Student Governments, the student government organization representing UNC system schools, is encouraging lawmakers to support the House bill, said Robert Nunnery, the organization’s president.

He believes that college IDs should be an acceptable form of identification to vote.

Appalachian State University student body President Dylan Russell, who helped register students to vote in the 2012 presidential election, said he doesn’t believe voter fraud is a widespread issue in the state.

“As a state I think we should do everything we can to make voting easier for students,” he said. “We shouldn’t add another step.”

He said if voter fraud occurs even on a small scale, lawmakers should address it. And he thinks college IDs should be acceptable.

But UNC Charlotte student body President Brady Nails said he supports the Senate version of the bill because he believes college IDs are easier to duplicate.

“I don’t think it’s going to have an adverse effect on UNCC students,” he said. “Using student IDs is not that necessary or beneficial.”

UNCC Young Democrats President Asgod Barrantes said the Senate bill unfairly targets college students, especially those without driver’s licenses.

He believes that if the Senate bill passes, voter turnout among college students would drop.

“Overall the whole point of these obstructive (bills) is to hinder youth political participation,” he said.

Crampton: 704-358-5112; Twitter: @liz_crampton
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