Turn away percentages at the polls are higher than ever at North Dakota’s Bismarck State College as students struggle with updating their state IDs to reflect residency changes.
Students traditionally use state-issued identification cards with their parents’ home address, but many students live on campus and are therefore ineligible to vote in their university’s local precinct. In order to vote, students are required to produce an identification card with an updated address reflecting any residency changes -- a requirement that has led to some students to experience complications at the polls.
According to the Bismarck Tribune, 7.7% of the 65 students who reported that they either voted or tried to vote said they were unsuccessful due to problems associated with their address. Address changes must be filed up to 30 days before elections.
As with other college campuses, Bismarck State College students with hectic schedules and little downtime struggled to update their information on time. In order to address this conflict, a new bill was introduced in the North Dakota House that would require student ID cards to be printed with a date of birth and residential addresses, making the campus card credential an acceptable form of voter ID.
The bill failed mid-March, in part, because university administrators in the state testified that the cost to recreate and reissue student IDs would fall directly on the budgets of universities.
Proponents of the bill argue that identification cards could then also be used to verify date of births and addresses for other forms of necessary identification such as signing an apartment lease or purchasing alcohol. This new system would introduce a flurry of possible new conflicts as students regularly using false identification, an ever-present concern on college campuses.
A more detailed report of college students' voting experiences in North Dakota can be found in a recent survey conducted by North Dakota State University.