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U. of Iowa considers student IDs for voter identification

Andrew Hudson   ||   Sep 06, 2019  ||   ,

Iowa is the latest state to consider the role of the student ID card for voter identification at the polls. Specifically, Iowa's two major state institutions, Iowa State University and the University of Iowa, are taking different stances on the matter.

As reported by University of Iowa student publication, The Daily Iowan, Iowa State University's campus card is currently compliant with state voter identification guidelines, while the University of Iowa remains on the fence.

The University of Iowa has enacted some steps to make voting more accessible to students, but university officials are still mulling a solution that relates specifically to the student ID card.

“We are in touch with our colleagues at Iowa State University and the Johnson County Auditor’s office and plan to learn more about whether this would be a good fit for our campus and county,” said Hayley Bruce, media-relations manager at the University of Iowa, in an statement to The Daily Iowan.

In 2018, the office of the Iowa Secretary of State sent letters to universities and colleges in the state requesting two actions: that universities provide students with a form of ID that could be verified; and make available a printable document for students to prove their address.

One of the steps taken by the University of Iowa in an effort to make voting accessible to students includes a voter-enrollment verification letter created by the Office of the Registrar. Separately, UI Housing and Dining added contract dates to dorm room assignment letters to show proof of residency.

Ultimately, the major hang up for using UI's IowaOne for voter identification is the lack of an expiration date. As with other large institutions, university officials have stated that the addition of an expiration date to campus cards would be cost prohibitive.

Per the Daily Iowan report, there are some 44,000 IowaOne cards currently in circulation. UI officials have stated that reprinting student IDs on the basis of an expiration timeframe could tack on hundreds of thousands of dollars in added costs each year.

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