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Texas to decide on student IDs for voter identification

Andrew Hudson   ||   Feb 22, 2019  ||   ,

Texas could be the next state to make the student ID card a valid form of voter identification at voting booths, following a bill proposed by Texas State Rep. Erin Zwiener, D-Driftwood this week.

The issue of voter identification, and how to execute it, is a topic of discussion that's crossed paths with the campus card before. It's a seemingly fragmented conversation that's ultimately decided on a state-by-state basis, but one that calls into question whether the student ID card should take on a larger role in the identity chain.

State Rep. Zwiener's House Bill 1950 seeks to add student ID cards to the list of acceptable forms of voter identification at polling locations across the state. The bill would allow Texas college students to vote after presenting a campus card alone.

In a press release from Zwiener, she explains that she introduced the legislation in order to encourage increased civic engagement among young people.

The bill would add student IDs to the current list of acceptable credentials. Per the Texas secretary of state, voters must currently present one of the following forms of photo identification in order to vote:

  • Texas Driver license
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate (EIC)
  • Texas Personal Identification Card issued by DPS
  • Texas license to carry a handgun issued by DPS
  • US military identification card containing the person's photograph
  • US citizenship certificate containing the person's photograph
  • US passport (book or card)

In order for students to use their campus card to vote, they must be enrolled at a public college in Texas and be registered to vote. Like the other acceptable forms of voter ID in Texas, the student ID card must also bear a photo of the cardholder. Per the Texas secretary of state's office, the name on the photo ID used at the voter booth should also match the voter registration card or be "substantially similar."

Citing statistics from the Texas Institutions of Higher Education's Enrollment Forecast 2017-2030, Zwiener’s release noted more than 600,000 students are currently enrolled in public universities in the state of Texas.

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